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7 DEADLY MYTHS OF INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE

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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-01-07 09:51 PM
Original message
7 DEADLY MYTHS OF INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE
Myth One - Industrial Agriculture Will Feed The World



The Truth
World hunger is not created by lack of food but by poverty and landlessness, which deny people access to food. Industrial agriculture actually increases hunger by raising the cost of farming, by forcing tens of millions of farmers off the land, and by growing primarily high-profit export and luxury crops.


Myth Two - Industrial Food is Safe, Healthy and Nutritious



The Truth
Industrial agriculture contaminates our vegetables and fruits with pesticides, slips dangerous bacteria into our lettuce, and puts genetically engineered growth hormones into our milk. It is not surprising that cancer, food-borne illnesses, and obesity are at an all-time high.

Myth Three - Industrial Food is Cheap



The Truth
If you added the real cost of industrial food-its health, environmental, and social costs-to the current supermarket price, not even our wealthiest citizens could afford to buy it.

Myth Four - Industrial Food is Efficient



The Truth
Small farms produce more agricultural output per unit area than large farms. Moreover, larger, less diverse farms require far more mechanical and chemical inputs. These ever increasing inputs are devastating to the environment and make these farms far less efficient than smaller, more sustainable farms.

Myth Five - Industrial Food Offers More Choices



The Truth
What the consumer actually gets in the supermarket is an illusion of choice. Food labeling does not even tell us what pesticides are on our food or what products have been genetically engineered. Most importantly, the myth of choice masks the tragic loss of tens of thousands of crop varieties caused by industrial agriculture.

Myth Six - Industrial Agriculture Benefits the Environment and Wildlife



The Truth
Industrial agriculture is the largest single threat to the earths biodiversity. Fence-row-to-fence-row plowing, planting, and harvesting techniques decimate wildlife habitats, while massive chemical use poisons the soil and water, and kills off countless plant and animal communities.


Myth Seven - Biotechnology Will Solve the Problems of Industrial Agriculture



The Truth
New biotech crops will not solve industrial agricultures problems, but will compound them and consolidate control of the worlds food supply in the hands of a few large corporations. Biotechnology will destroy biodiversity and food security, and drive self-sufficient farmers off their land.

http://mulliganstew.wordpress.com/2006/12/10/myth-one-i...
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-01-07 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thank you.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-01-07 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
2. Nominated.
Great post on an important topc. Thank you.
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brer cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-01-07 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. Excellent post...and very timely with the wheat gluten scare.
K&R
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orleans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-01-07 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. thanks for posting this. k&r. n/t
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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-01-07 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
5. Kick.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-01-07 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
6. K & R, bookmarked & copied
Have a friend who works with independent farmers. They have tended to vote GOP out of habit. He is trying to open their eyes. This will help. They KNOW industrial agriculture is a threat to mankind. They need to learn (and fast) what party is most guilty of enabling it.
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blues90 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-01-07 10:06 PM
Response to Original message
7.  Yeah , this is what they call PROGRESS .
I remember George Carlin years ago talking about frozen dinners , people at some food processing plant putting little chunks of meat in a box with some sort of skin fungus all over their hands . That was the end on the TV dinner for me .

I always wondered when we moved to the burbs in 1958 and the land was sold off farmland and we had no city water but instead drilled wells going down 1,200 feet and how much of the chemicals used back then seeped down itno this underground water table .
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Rydz777 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-01-07 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
8. Mulligan Stew
Thanks for the excellent post and also for the link to Mulligan Stew which I have added to my resources.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 12:21 AM
Response to Original message
9. this is a beautiful post!
thank you.

i'm going to bookmark for future use.
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hang a left Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 12:35 AM
Response to Original message
10. Well you got the noms...
but not very many posts.

Frankenfood. Along with this and GM, and whatever the hell they are spraying in our skies...

I am tellin' ya we need to buy foil, and lots of it.

WTF is going on????

I wish they would just go ahead and legalize poppies. I would much rather go that way.
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 01:31 AM
Response to Original message
11. I highly recommend this excellent article.
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Reterr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 01:43 AM
Response to Original message
12. K&R and when you consider the factory farming of animals EXTREMELY CRUEL too
What is humane about this?





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nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 01:45 AM
Original message
K&R-not to mention the horror that is the meat industry.nt
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nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 01:45 AM
Original message
K&R-not to mention the horror that is the meat industry.nt
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nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
14. sorry
:blush:
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WiseButAngrySara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:46 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. Hey, it was something that bears repeating! ....n/t
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nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 01:45 AM
Response to Original message
13. K&R-not to mention the horror that is the meat industry.nt
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 01:47 AM
Response to Original message
15. Have you seen this film?
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mcg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:07 AM
Response to Reply #15
19. "The Future of Film" seems like a good film to watch.
I recommended that thread.
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 03:55 AM
Response to Original message
16. Thanks for this!
K&R
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WiseButAngrySara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:52 AM
Response to Original message
18. K & R. ...n/t
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:42 AM
Response to Original message
20. If you want clean food for yourself and your family, check out CSA
Support a farm in your town or city, know the farmers, insure you are getting Clean Food for yourself and your family.

"Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) offers a way for every human being to be directly involved in the care and healing of the earth, while also ensuring a supply of clean, healthy food for their families and their neighbors."

Link to resources:
http://www.chiron-communications.com/farms.html
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GoneOffShore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:59 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. Excellent idea! Buy Fresh, Buy Local!
We've been doing CSA's from around Philadelphia for the last 5 years. We buy from the Amish in Reading Terminal as well. Unless we go to restaurants, all our meat is free range, organic, pastured. Beef and lamb are grass fed.

It makes a difference in nutrition - Organic has more vitamins than industrial - and taste.

Sure, it's more expensive, but we actually eat less.

:bounce:
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:06 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. And with CSA your create a local oasis of environmental health
rather than an industrial food product cesspool...
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GoneOffShore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #22
26. Exactly. I've been convinced of that for years.
I remember 50 years ago living in Wilmington Delaware and buying local beef, lamb and pork. Driving out to northern New Castle county and seeing the cattle grazing. Buying fresh vegetables from the farmers market and the veg had been picked that morning. We have to get back to local agriculture.

I encourage my suburban friends to plant gardens.
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Morgana LaFey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #22
73. and help build/support community
our local co-op / CSA is BOOMING, just teeming with life and enterprise, etc. It's wonderful to be part of it.
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Le Taz Hot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #20
30. CSA
I was just about to post something about this and couldn't remember the catch phrase. I'm lucky enough to live in Fresno (yes, lucky) in that we have farmer's markets and mom-n-pop produce stands everywhere. However, not all farmer's markets and produce stands are the same. Many of these establishments are getting their produce from the same produce houses that grocery store chains get their's from which is often obtained from out of the country. Remember, things like DDT are still legal in other countries and that food is imported to the U.S. Same thing with the mom-n-pop produce stands so be wary.

The good news is that we recently had the World Farm Show in Tulare (just south of Fresno) and the biggest two exhibits were organic farming and hydroponics (it's not just for "herbs" anymore). I see more and more non-corporate, family farms in California moving towards organic growing.

Three years ago there was only one seller at my favorite farmer's market that sold organic produce. Today, almost all of the sellers advertise organic.
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JetCityLiberal Donating Member (706 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #20
45. That is an outstanding link SpiralHawk
Many thanks and hope everyone gets to see it.

we also organically grow as much of our own as possible and save our seeds.
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #45
61. De nada
you are welcome
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #20
99. Go to localharvest.org to find CSAs, Farmers Markets, and local growers nt
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GoneOffShore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:08 AM
Response to Original message
23. Eat food. Not too much. Plants mostly!
I'm in the midst of reading Michael Pollan's landmark book. Big agri business is killing us and the planet.
He didn't convince me to become a vegetarian - we are omnivores after all - but he did open my eyes further than they were already to the problems we all face when it comes to food. To quote Pollan - "Don't eat anything that your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."


"Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan
http://www.amazon.com/Omnivores-Dilemma-Natural-History...

From Publishers Weekly
Reviewed by Pamela KaufmanPollan (The Botany of Desire) examines what he calls "our national eating disorder" (the Atkins craze, the precipitous rise in obesity) in this remarkably clearheaded book. It's a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You'll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again.Pollan approaches his mission not as an activist but as a naturalist: "The way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world." All food, he points out, originates with plants, animals and fungi. "ven the deathless Twinkie is constructed out of... well, precisely what I don't know offhand, but ultimately some sort of formerly living creature, i.e., a species. We haven't yet begun to synthesize our foods from petroleum, at least not directly."Pollan's narrative strategy is simple: he traces four meals back to their ur-species.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:10 AM
Response to Original message
24. Again, about "myth #5 = More Choices" The pet food crisis puts the lie
to THAT one, big time! How much of the same stuff is marketed under different labels. It is the illusion of choice that is on the shelves.
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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:12 AM
Response to Original message
25. K & R
Edited on Mon Apr-02-07 08:28 AM by YankeyMCC
This is where the rubber hits the road for both the ecological crisis and social issues.

Industrial agriculture is a product of the fossil fuels and war (those that made money off of producing war material moved into agriculture products after WWII) and by crushing - pushing out local producers it has shifted the diet of the poor from healthy local FOOD choices to less nutritious, higher risk (in terms of pesticide, gen-eng, etc..) "Food Products".

Joining CSA's for meat and produces is an excellent idea and of course some places are lucky enough to have markets that provide locally grown products and there are many farmers markets in most areas even urban areas.

And organic isn't always the best choice if it has been produced industrially, just be aware.

On Edit: Just reading the article in detail now and this phrase is key I think:

"It turns out that food production that is safe for the environment, humane to animals, and based in community and independence is also a food supply that is safe and nutritious for humans."
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:32 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. CSA farms have been around for 21 years, and
they have proved themselves time and time again...they are the part of a wave of intelligence. We can only hope more and more people will choose to go the CSA route, and thereby benefit their families, the communities they live in, their local farms and farm families, the environment -- and by extension the planet.

Everything you do matters -- especially when multiplied by 6 billion (world population).

Think of your food dollars as votes. You either vote for industrial ag with every buck you spend, or you vote for clean food, clean environment, and dignified work for local people.

http://www.chiron-communications.com/farms.html
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
28. Menu Foods, Anyone?
Speaking of corporate consolidation in the food chain ...
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. The violence of the green revolution
The Violence of the Green Revolution: Third World Agriculture, Ecology and Politics. - book reviews
Whole Earth Review, Spring, 1996 by Rachna Sachasinh Boone


Find More Results for: "violence of the green revolution "
The Green...
Green Revolution
Book reviews -- The...
A vision in Mali -...
In this collection of essays activist Vandana Shiva addresses the impact of Green Revolution policies on ecology, agriculture, politics, and social relations in the Third World, particularly the indian state of Punjab. Within this broad critique, Dr. Shiva categorizes the rising political and religious tensions and domestic violence in the Punjab as direct consequences of Green Revolution policies.

Shiva elucidates the multinationol companies' attempts to lure farmers away from growing traditional food crops to supplying exotics for the palates of the international elite. She also charts the country's development of immense dam projects designed to serve the mighty thirst of Bourlag's miracle seeds. India's wholehearted adaption of the Green Revolution's twin offspring, monoculture and multicropping, demanded intensive irrigation systems that eventually replaced natural drainage patterns, triggered disastrous waterlogging, and exacerbated interstate water conflicts.

Shiva argues that the Green Revolution and burgeoning trends in biotechnology are steps toward the recolonization of the Third World.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1510/is_n89/...
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cassiepriam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
31. Would you buy food from Bush and Cheney?
They are in charge of your dinner.
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DemExpat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
32. Excellent post with excellent points.
K and R!

Thanks.

DemEx
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #32
33. WHAT are the real costs of food?


WHAT are the real costs of food? When we buy a kg of rice or wheat, have we at any time wondered what its real cost could be against what we pay in the shop? We only are concerned about the `market' price of food, and not what it costs to produce. In extreme cases when food prices soar beyond control, food riots can take place, as happened in ancient Rome when price of bread went through the roof!

A myth has been built up around the world, especially in India, that food is cheap, thanks to the "Green Revolution", and that it is only `inaccessibility', meaning insufficient "purchasing power", that keeps food out of the mouths of millions of poor and starving Indians.

Food, indeed, would have been cheap, had this country succeeded in producing enough for the burgeoning population. The cost of food per se in the market is only one side of the coin. The other side, more insidious, which almost all Indians, including agricultural scientists, whose business should be to produce enough food for the bulging population, are oblivious to is that food is not cheap in India, or anywhere else, where industrial agriculture is the order of the day.

A number of hidden costs in terms of irreparable damage to the environment, and human health hazards, which stem from industrial agriculture are not taken into account. If food appears cheap, it is because many of the hidden costs are externalised, and the real costs of production are not internalised in the price of food.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2003/10/15/stories/...
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Dora Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
34. I'm happy to K&R....
The shorter our food chain is, the healthier our diet will be. The healthier our diet, the healthier our body. The healthier we are... well, we all need our strength for the days ahead.

Michael Pollan had a wonderful essay in the NY Times recently related to this subject.

One rule we could all strive to live by, is don't eat food your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.

IOW: make it yourself, from ingredients on-hand and from local/trustworthy sources.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
35. challenged.
"World hunger is not created by lack of food but by poverty and landlessness, which deny people access to food. Industrial agriculture actually increases hunger by raising the cost of farming, by forcing tens of millions of farmers off the land, and by growing primarily high-profit export and luxury crops."

Hunger is caused by crop failure. Droughts, pests, etc. If crops were more resistant, the warlords, gangsters, and profiteers which run rackets during famines wouldn't be an issue.

"Industrial agriculture contaminates our vegetables and fruits with pesticides, slips dangerous bacteria into our lettuce, and puts genetically engineered growth hormones into our milk. It is not surprising that cancer, food-borne illnesses, and obesity are at an all-time high."

And it's because of pesticides that farmers can produce so much more yield. The contaminated lettuce was due to a flood, which spread sewage over farms. Not because of industrial farming practices. Milk that's produce from cows given growth hormones is utterly indistinguishable from regular milk. It's not causing cancer. Food borne illness is not at an all time high, it's down. And obesity being at an all time high certainly doesn't indicate there's a problem with the food supply.

"If you added the real cost of industrial food-its health, environmental, and social costs-to the current supermarket price, not even our wealthiest citizens could afford to buy it."

And if all 6 billion people ate food from organic farms, how much would that cost?

"Small farms produce more agricultural output per unit area than large farms. Moreover, larger, less diverse farms require far more mechanical and chemical inputs. These ever increasing inputs are devastating to the environment and make these farms far less efficient than smaller, more sustainable farms."

Baloney. If organic farms yielded more crops, why would industrial farming exist?


"What the consumer actually gets in the supermarket is an illusion of choice. Food labeling does not even tell us what pesticides are on our food or what products have been genetically engineered. Most importantly, the myth of choice masks the tragic loss of tens of thousands of crop varieties caused by industrial agriculture."

I'd like a link for any evidence that "industrial" agriculture has resulted in the loss of any crop variety. Due to hybridization and GM, if anything it's led to far greater varieties.

"Industrial agriculture is the largest single threat to the earths biodiversity. Fence-row-to-fence-row plowing, planting, and harvesting techniques decimate wildlife habitats, while massive chemical use poisons the soil and water, and kills off countless plant and animal communities."

And an organic farm would need far more area to produce the same yields that "industrial" farming would require with the same biodiversity.

"New biotech crops will not solve industrial agricultures problems, but will compound them and consolidate control of the worlds food supply in the hands of a few large corporations. Biotechnology will destroy biodiversity and food security, and drive self-sufficient farmers off their land."

Sounds like a conspiracy theory. GM increases biodiversity, increases food security as it offers varieties resistant to drought and pests, etc. and it's self-sufficient farmers that are purchasing GM crops.





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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #35
40. Bornaginhooligan--your critique of the post is industry propaganda. You've been brainwashed
just like many others, unfortunately. May I respectfully suggest that you research this with an open mind -- and try to avoid industry funded "research" -- as it is truly biased.

Wow! wtf:
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. I've been brainwashed, eh?
Must be all them chemtrails.
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #35
46. you probably believe
there was an Irish Potato Famine, don't you?

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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #46
48. Um, yeah, I do.
Don't you?

I'm also pretty sure they were organic farmers.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #48
63. Uh... bornagain...the potato famine was because of monoculture, i.e, lack of diversity
that's the part of the argument about why corporate farms are creating problems. Corporate farms do monoculture. Ireland did monoculture. Too much dependence on a single crop is a big, big mistake. Ireland depended not only on one type of crop, but on one type of potato.

The Irish intentionally used the same variety of seeds and seed stocks because they thought that this one variety, called the "Lumper" potato, gave higher yields. Unfortunately, that variety was also vulnerable to a fungus that came from South America. Since the Irish grew mainly potatoes -- this was disastrous. They didn't grow enough crops to even sustain themselves in case of crop failure.

That trouble is defined as. Monoculture, lack of diversity in seed stock, and lack of diversity in crop types. This is a bigtime corporate practice in the U.S. today.

Whether you're a big industrial type farmer or whether you're an organic, small farmer -- it doesn't make any difference. The same thing is true of both -- no seed diversity is bad. Monoculture is dangerous -- some would and do say that monoculture is a danger to national security.


Realize that there are hundreds of varieties of potatoes that are resistant to that same fungus that hit Ireland. You can't really blame the farmers for wanting a variety that was more productive than others -- but they didn't think enough about the need for diversity.... and ended up with monoculture in the extreme... when the fungus came, the potatoes died and so did the people.


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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #63
66. Well, yeah.
But I don't see anybody arguing that any one population should subsist on any one food crop, do you?

This is a strawman.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #66
79. You won't get away with that one
You took a "for corporate" farming position and then when referring to the potato famine you popped out with "I'm also pretty sure they were organic farmers."

And you say what?

Strawman did you say to me?

You're not being honest about your intentions -- to denigrate the meaning of "organic" by associating the potato famine with organic farming -- when in fact one of the foundations of organic farming is diversity of food crops.

Also you left out an important fact -- the period of the potato famine was in the 1800s which pre-dated the development of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

There was no concept of "organic" farming during that pre-synthetic poison period.

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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #79
81. I didn't take a "for corporate" farming position.
Edited on Mon Apr-02-07 07:20 PM by Bornaginhooligan
I simply debunked some flawed arguments in the OP.

"referring to the potato famine you popped out with "I'm also pretty sure they were organic farmers."

I didn't bring up the Irish Potato Famine in this thread, and I certainly didn't blame it on organic farming. I've still got no idea what the famine has to do with the OP.

"Also you left out an important fact -- the period of the potato famine was in the 1800s which pre-dated the development of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers."

Ergo, all farming before synthetic fertilizers was organic farming. Too bad, they really could have used some fungicide.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #81
94. I would prefer diversity over poisoning food. Plants develop natural resistance to disease over
Edited on Mon Apr-02-07 08:39 PM by AikidoSoul
time. If the Irish had kept more types of potatoes as seed potato --the famine wouldn't have been as big of a problem. They were also being forced onto tiny plots of land as another poster was kind enough to share. They were under severe political / economic pressures. They can't fairly be compared to our large corporate farms as far as the choices they really had during that time.

But to your point about poisoning the potatoes to kill the fungi. One of the characteristics of root plants is unfortunately that they absorb more pesticides than do other types of plants. Even organic potatoes are found to have organochlorine pesticides in them because they are so persistent in the soil of all farms.... even those using organic practices for decades.

If I couldn't purchase anything else organic -- I would still make sure to get organic root crops -- and by taking off the skins will reduce the toxic levels.

There are excellent natural fungicides used in organic farming, and then there are substances like Chitosan that's used as a growth enhancer. The neatest thing though is that it also boosts the immune system of plants to help them fight fungal infection.

spelling correction on edit
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #48
64. do your research
The Irish people didn't starve to death by the thousands because of the potato blight. They starved to death because English landlords took every last oat, cow, grain of wheat, cask of beer, side of bacon, you name it... for rent and "surety". All in a brutal attempt to rid the land of the "savage natives". Native Irish people weren't even allowed to own land in many parts of the country. For years they had been secretly cultivating potato patches to supplement what little was left over from the "Rent" they were forced to pay. There was no famine... there was however INTENTIONAL STARVATION.

Like the other poster said, you took the line... hook and sinker.
You can get all defensive about it or you can educate yourself...

:shrug:


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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #64
67. I'm quite familiar with the subjects.
And I've still no idea what you're on about.

"The Irish people didn't starve to death by the thousands because of the potato blight."

I'm pretty sure the potato blight had an awful lot to do with it.
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #67
69. just a coupla links...
from here:

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/irish_po...

"The Irish potato famine was not simply a natural disaster. It was a product of social causes. Under British rule, Irish Catholics were prohibited from entering the professions or even purchasing land. Instead, many rented small plots of land from absentee British Protestant landlords. Half of all landholdings were less than 5 acres in 1845."


from the wiki entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Potato_Famine

"Cecil Woodham-Smith, an authority on the Irish Famine, wrote in The Great Hunger; Ireland 1845-1849 that, "...no issue has provoked so much anger or so embittered relations between the two countries (England and Ireland) as the indisputable fact that huge quantities of food were exported from Ireland to England throughout the period when the people of Ireland were dying of starvation." Almost throughout the five-year famine, Ireland remained a net exporter of food."



Had the ports been closed to export like they were in the 1780's during their last food shortage, there would have been no famine.

I could get you the titles of a couple of reputable books on the subject as well if you're interested.


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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #69
74. Did you know...
that in Bram Stoker's "Dracula," that Dracula is ultimately killed by a Texan with a bowie knife?
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #74
91. never read it... n/t
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #69
82. Whoops. I just saw this
sorry.


This was taken from the Wikipedia link that you offered above:

"In 1845, for example, 24% of all Irish tenant farms were of 0.4 to 2 hectares (one to five acres) in size, while 40% were of two to six hectares (five to fifteen acres). Holdings were so small that only potatoes--no other crop-- would suffice to feed a family. The British Government reported, shortly before the Great Hunger, that poverty was so wide-spread that one third of all Irish small holdings could not support their families, after paying their rent, except by earnings of seasonal migrant labour in England and Scotland.<1>"

O.K. I concede that one... and thanks for the insight.


Whatever the complex reasons for the Irish Potato Famine though -- it still underlines the danger of monoculture!
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #64
78. I have never read that this is the real reason the Irish starved to death
so you're saying that the potato famine wasn't real?

Do you have any links to this information?

I'm not challenging you or disagreeing with you -- my mind is open. I only ask that you provide some credible historial look at this.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #78
101. The potato blight was the last blow to a people already badly oppressed
and poor. They were giving any saleable crops to their landlords as rent. Those crops were then sold to English firms and exported, leaving only potato patches to feed the Irish. When the blight hit the potatoes, it made a bad situation downright hellish. So, the Irish Famine was caused by a matrix of issues, the potato blight being the fatal blow.
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 06:07 AM
Response to Reply #101
105. thank you
for explaining it succinctly.

Ask any Irish Catholic born and raised in Ireland and they'll tell you there was no potato "famine". They call it a "starvation" instead, as it's more apropos.


I was really only using the IPF as an example of how people can get fed a line and take it to heart...


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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #35
47. Organic vs. Conventional Agriculture
Organic farming produces same corn and soybean yields as conventional farms, but consumes less energy and no pesticides, study finds

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/July05/organic.farm...

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Organic farming produces the same yields of corn and soybeans as does conventional farming, but uses 30 percent less energy, less water and no pesticides, a review of a 22-year farming trial study concludes.

David Pimentel, a Cornell University professor of ecology and agriculture, concludes, "Organic farming offers real advantages for such crops as corn and soybeans." Pimentel is the lead author of a study that is published in the July issue of Bioscience (Vol. 55: 7) analyzing the environmental, energy and economic costs and benefits of growing soybeans and corn organically versus conventionally. The study is a review of the Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial, the longest running comparison of organic vs. conventional farming in the United States.

<snip>

The fact that organic agriculture systems also absorb and retain significant amounts of carbon in the soil has implications for global warming, Pimentel said, pointing out that soil carbon in the organic systems increased by 15 to 28 percent, the equivalent of taking about 3,500 pounds of carbon dioxide per hectare out of the air.

Among the study's other findings:
# In the drought years, 1988 to 1998, corn yields in the legume-based system were 22 percent higher than yields in the conventional system.
# The soil nitrogen levels in the organic farming systems increased 8 to 15 percent. Nitrate leaching was about equivalent in the organic and conventional farming systems.
# Organic farming reduced local and regional groundwater pollution by not applying agricultural chemicals.

<more>



The performance of organic and conventional cropping systems in an extreme climate year

American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, Volume 18, Number 3, September 2003, pp. 146-154(9)

Lotter D.W.1; Seidel R.1; Liebhardt W.1

Abstract

The 1999 severe crop season drought in the northeastern US was followed by hurricane-driven torrential rains in September, offering a unique opportunity to observe how managed and natural systems respond to climate-related stress. The Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial has been operating since 1981 and consists of three replicated cropping systems, one organic manure based (MNR), one organic legume based (LEG) and a conventional system (CNV). The MNR system consists of a 5-year maizesoybeanwheatclover/hay rotation, the LEG of a 3-year maize soybeanwheatgreen manure, and the CNV of a 5-year maizesoybean rotation. Subsoil lysimeters allowed quantification of percolated water in each system. Average maize and soybean yields were similar in all three systems over the post-transition years (19851998). Five drought years occurred between 1984 and 1998 and in four of them the organic maize outyielded the CNV by significant margins. In 1999 all crop systems suffered severe yield depressions; however, there were substantial yield differences between systems. Organic maize yielded 38% and 137% relative to CNV in the LEG and MNR treatments, respectively, and 196% and 152% relative to CNV in the soybean plots. The primary mechanism of the higher yield of the MNR and LEG is proposed to be the higher water-holding capacity of the soils in those treatments, while the lower yield of the LEG maize was due to weed competition in that particular year and treatment. Soils in the organic plots captured more water and retained more of it in the crop root zone than in the CNV treatment. Water capture in the organic plots was approximately 100% higher than in CNV plots during Septembers torrential rains.

<end>

Organic practices slightly affect corn and soybean yields

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-04/asoa-ops...

MADISON, WI, March ---, 2003 - Scientists from the University of Minnesota demonstrated yields of corn and soybeans were only minimally reduced when organic production practices were utilized as compared with conventional production practices. After factoring in production costs, net returns between the two production strategies were equivalent.

<snip>

The study was conducted at two Minnesota locations from 1989 to 1999. Scientists evaluated a two-year corn-soybean rotation and a four-year corn-soybean-oat/alfalfa-alfalfa rotation under conventional and organic management and production strategies.

The analysis of yield data began in 1993, after the first complete cycle of the four-year rotation had occurred. From 1993 through 1999, yield of corn grown in the conventional two-year rotation averaged 143 and 139 bushels per acre at the two locations, while corn grown in the organic four-year rotation averaged nine percent and seven percent less, respectively.

During the same time frame, soybeans grown in the conventional two-year rotation averaged 43.1 and 40.7 bushels per acre, while organically produced soybeans averaged 19 percent and 16 percent less, respectively. Weed control was a major factor for the reduced yields in the organic production system, says Paul Porter, a University of Minnesota agronomist and co-author of the article. The larger yield reductions from organically produced soybeans relative to corn were associated with increased weed pressure in the soybean crop because of its placement in the rotation sequence.

<end>

Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming

Science 31 May 2002: Vol. 296. no. 5573, pp. 1694 - 1697

Paul Mder,1* Andreas Fliebach,,1 David Dubois,2 Lucie Gunst,2 Padruot Fried,2 Urs Niggli1

Abstract

An understanding of agroecosystems is key to determining effective farming systems. Here we report results from a 21-year study of agronomic and ecological performance of biodynamic, bioorganic, and conventional farming systems in Central Europe. We found crop yields to be 20% lower in the organic systems, although input of fertilizer and energy was reduced by 34 to 53% and pesticide input by 97%. Enhanced soil fertility and higher biodiversity found in organic plots may render these systems less dependent on external inputs.

<end>

Long-term effects of organic and conventional farming on soil erosion

Nature 330, 370 - 372 (26 November 1987)

ohn P. Reganold*, Lloyd F. Elliott & Yvonne L. Unger

Abstract

Conventional, intensive tillage farming systems have greatly increased crop production and labour efficiency. But, serious questions are being raised about the energy-intensive nature of these systems and their adverse effects on soil productivity and environmental quality1,2. This concern has led to an increasing interest in organic farming systems because they may reduce some of the negative effects of conventional agriculture on the environment3,4. We compare the long-term effects (since 1948) of organic and conventional farming on selected properties of the same soil. The organically-farmed soil had significantly higher organic matter content, thicker topsoil depth, higher polysaccharide content, lower modulus of rupture and less soil erosion than the conventionally-farmed soil. This study indicates that, in the long term, the organic farming system was more effective than the conventional farming system in reducing soil erosion and, therefore, in maintaining soil productivity.

<end>

In the Post-Petroleum Post-Gas Greenhouse World, organic agriculture is all we are going to have to sustain our society. Organic Ag sequesters atmospheric CO2, reduces energy inputs (which can be provided by biofuels, solar and wind power), virtually eliminates the use of pesticides and performs better under climate extremes than conventional agriculture.

We better start promoting it *big time* real soon....

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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #47
57. This seems illogical
In my experience, corporate America is all about increasing profits. If organic farming actually produced the same yields with less money, they'd do it in a heart beat just to increase their profits, wouldn't they?
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #57
68. you can't
You just can't do "whole system" farming on a large Corporate scale. The concept is alien to them. They would mono-plant carrots next to monoplanted beets because they're "companion plants". All that diversity and life in an organic, bio-dynamic farm takes a lot of heart and soul to make it work. Corporate Agriculture doesn't do that type of investiture. They've lost they're connection to the Earth...

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piedmont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #57
71. Less energy (fossil fuels) but more labor-intensive, thus more expensive in the short run
But farming on fossil fuels will cost us dearly long-term.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #71
87. In terms of energy efficiency, corporate farming is the most inefficient method there is
If all currency was denominated in kilocalories, that would become plain instantly.
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piedmont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #87
103. Yep. nt
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #87
107. You didn't answer me
The question is, if going organic is more efficient it will be more profitable. Why would corporations not seek to maximize their profits?
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #107
109. They are seeking to maximize profits
You are confusing the reality of energy and material conditions with the abstractions of fiat currency. This leads to a false understanding of the situation when you are measuring everything by the market.

America's agricultural policies have remained fundamentally unchanged for nearly three-quarters of a century. The U.S. government continues to subsidize the production of rice, milk, sugar, cotton, peanuts, tobacco, and other commodities, while restricting imports to maintain artificially high domestic prices.

That amounts to an annual "food tax" per household of $146/yr. This consumer tax is paid over and above what we dole out to farmers through the federal budget.

American families also pay more for their milk, butter, and cheese, thanks to federal dairy price supports and trade barriers. The federal government administers a byzantine system of domestic price supports, marketing orders, import controls, export subsidies, and domestic and international giveaway programs.

If corporate farmers had to stand on their own (as do all small-scale growers), without the subsidies, they would be out of business in the very first year. They know this which is why they bribe politicians to keep the subsidies rolling in. Look it up.

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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #109
110. Response
Edited on Tue Apr-03-07 10:41 AM by Nederland
I'm not sure how your post is relevant to why corporations wouldn't switch to organic farming if it is more profitable, but I agree with everything you wrote. I agree that we should eliminate subsidies and let the market decide prices.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #110
112. Definitely not
THE Market is not so adept at recognizing human rights. Food is a human right. Placing monetary value on what is one's absolute most basic need is nothing short of ensuring and promoting servitude.

And of course The Market does not and cannot take into account an entire host of factors including clean water, healthy soil, long-term impacts on Agri-CULTURE and communities.

The Market has a long resume in this respect. It is calamitous and our children will be cursing us as they look for clean water and deep soil that was stolen by industrial agriculture and it's perversely abstract Market.

Only after the last tree has been cut down

Only after the last river has been poisoned

Only after the last fish has been caught

Only then you will find out that money cannot be eaten
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #112
113. Food is not a right
Rights are things you have until they are taken away from you. Food is something you don't have until you perform some work to acquire it. Therefore, food is not a right.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #113
114. That's an abstraction
Food, clothing shelter are inherent rights. And yes one has to work for their rights be they material or more ephemeral.

Should all children be allowed to have food?
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #114
116. Of course its an abstraction
However, it is important to distinguish between things that require actions and things that require inaction.

When it comes to free speech, freedom of religion, etc; these are things I have those things so long as the government and other people do nothing to take them away. In order to keep these rights, I am not asking anyone to do or provide anything--I am merely asking that they leave me alone.

When it comes to education, medical care, and food; these are things that I do not have until someone performs some work. If I demand a "right" to food, what I am really saying is that someone else somewhere must work. I am demanding something of other people, and what right do I have to demand that other people work for my benefit?

So all I am saying is that when you call food a "right", you confuse the issue. The "right" to food is very different from the "right" to free speech. Since they are very different, we should probably use different words, don't you think? I like the word "entitlement"...


To answer your question, should all children be allowed to have food? Yes, and I would never stop anyone from giving children food if they wanted to do so.
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piedmont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #110
118. I don't think anyone said it was more profitable
It is more energy efficient. But as was pointed out, it is more labor-intensive. The savings on the cost of energy is more than off-set by the cost of the additional labore required.
But again, this doesn't account for the HUGE costs of industrial farming that are being "stored" in the future. We won't come up on those costs for a while yet, but they will certainly bite us in the ass.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 08:49 PM
Response to Reply #107
125. Yes, I did answer. The question is--
--more profitable for WHOM? Strangely enough, corporations prefer a lesser total amount of profit going to themselves alone to a greater total amount of profit divided up amoung thousands of small fry.
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #57
72. Conservative farm culture plus unrelenting propaganda from seed/fertilizer/pesticide industry
plus government programs have developed a great inertial mass that is hard to move.

Farmers that have taken the trip to the Dark Side (Organic), however, have done well despite what the Powers That Be would have them believe.

Also, Think Amish...
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gravity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #72
77. Yeah the Amish using GM crops
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gravity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #57
75. Organic food can produce similar yields
But organic crops are more labor intensive, which makes it costs more in the end.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #75
93. That's based on a false premise
First of all take away the subsidies and agribusiness, even under it's own parameters, goes out of business overnight. The actual financial costs are astronomical. But it's foisted onto the taxpayer.

Now let's get to the REAL costs and here it is beyond the pale. That means in terms of energy, water, pollution and so on. In that respect you could not have devised a more omnicidal system of food production if you tried.

As a point small scale agriculture actually outproduces industrial agriculture by quite a bit when all factors are considered.

Of course we haven't even touched upon soil degradation/erosion upon which our precarious civilization rests. Do we need to tally that? Do we know how fragile of a position we are in?
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #57
86. The chem/pharm industry also owns most of the seed companies
in the world and has been buying them up for years. It has a stranglehold on farmers that often cannot find standard or heirloom seeds.

"Practically all crop seed is supplied by private companies with very little coming from the public sector. Today, most seed companies are owned by agricultural biotechnology companies or controlled by them. Thus, if a farmer wanted to plant a non-GM crop, he would be hard pressed to find the seed." <<<<SNIP>>>>

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4051/is_200...

*****************

"Twelve of the top 19 seed companies are owned by corporations connected with chemicals, pharmaceuticals or food distribution. ..." <<<SNIP>>>

http://www.authenticbusiness.co.uk/archive/webofhope /

*****************

Summary: Seminis, the world's largest vegetable seed corporation, announced on 28 June that it would eliminate 2,000 varieties or 25% of its total product line as a cost-cutting measure. Seed industry consolidation is dramatically narrowing the availability of non-hybrid vegetable varieties and a wealth of seed diversity is being lost forever.

Back in 1980, seed activists and conservationists protested when the European Community amalgamated its member states' National Lists (plant varieties approved by governments for commercial sale) into a "Common Catalogue." When Brussels' bureaucrats proposed a common seed roster, the seed companies obliged by providing a "hit list" of over 1,500 variety "names" they claimed were only national synonyms of other named varieties. The 1,500 "synonyms" became "illegal" by decree. The deletions were not, of course, "synonyms." When the Catalogue was finalized, nearly 1,000 distinct vegetable varieties were wiped out of commercial existence simply because they represented low-profit competition in the form of non-hybrid or non-proprietary varieties.

Today, after decades of consolidation in the seed industry, it is corporate financial officers, not government bureaucrats, who are wiping out genetic diversity at the stroke of a pen. <<SNIP>>>

http://www.arkinstitute.com/2000/July2000%20Food%20Supp...

********************************

And controlling seed is one of the strategies of big chem/pharm/agro companies:

"Seed companies want to ban farm-saved seed

A new report from GRAIN reveals the new lobbying offensive from the global seed industry to make it a crime for farmers to save seeds for the next year's planting. <<SNIP>>

BACKGROUND

Seed companies already have strong legal support from governments. In many countries, seed laws require farmers to use only certified seed of government-approved varieties. That seed is often available only from commercial seed companies.

A rapidly increasing number of governments also grant legal monopoly rights for commercial seed, by means of industrial patents and so-called plant variety protection (PVP). Until recently, both seed patents and PVP existed only in developed countries. But since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was created in 1994, all member governments must provide some form of monopoly rights on seeds." <<SNIP>>

http://www.grain.org/nfg/?id=470

*****************************

These controls have been going into place for years. The "partnership" between chem/pharm companies and the U.S. Government is lucrative.

Chem/pharm companies that are heavily invested in crop sciences are Bayer, Aventis, Astra Zenica/Novartis, Monsanto, Pharmacia, Pfizer (Pharmacia bought Monsanto and Pfizer purchased them both in 2002), Dupont and others. Many other giants that do it all -- drugs, chemicals, pesticides, biotech, and agro-science. These companies have an enormously influential relationship with our government officials.

There are huge federal subsidies for corporate farmers and almost zero for organic farms.

The people I know in organic farming are truly dedicated to preserving the soil and protecting the environment. They pride themselves on high quality food.

These are the people I trust.
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-07 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #57
140. Illogical? "Screw that logic shit." - Monsanto and Chemical Giants
"We don't care about no steenkin logic. We got a monopoly going here, so don't raise no steenkin questions about how good chemicals and clones and GM mutant irradiate food-product facsimile nutrition units."

- Big Chem
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #35
130. Excellent post.
Thank you for breaking the ice.

I followed up in post 129
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Jeff In Milwaukee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
36. Worried about your cat food?
Then you should really be worried about your next trip to the supermarket. The root cause of the pet food disaster is that a small number of suppliers spread their product out across nearly all the petfood manufacturers, so when one supplier has a problem (like poison) with its product, it effects the entire marketplace.

The same principle applies to for the food you're eating. A handful of companies (like Con-Agra and Kraft) control a majority of the packaged and processed food in the United States, and just a few more companies (like Archer-Daniels Midland and Bunge) have a hand in damned near everything you eat. And that doesn't include the half-dozen major players in genetically-modified foods. And the players are consolidating all the time. If one of them catches a cold, then entire food supply gets the flu.

This is probably the least-understood and least-reported issue in the media.
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elmerdem Donating Member (312 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
37. A great book:
The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry
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NobleCynic Donating Member (991 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
38. I'm not certain I agree with every tenet listed
I will gladly agree with numbers two, three, five, and six.

The issue with number one is that it is not the farming practice that is at fault for not feeding the world's poor. We grow more than enough food to feed everybody, it just is not distributed in an equal fashion. I'm not certain this is a failure of the farming system, rather governmental and societal failure in general. Moreover, if you consider modern fertilizer part of industrial farming, as the author seems to, you have to acknowledge its role in increasing output dramatically. Even if the environmental effects are severe.

With four, as he defines efficiency is absolutely correct. But if you define efficiency as the proportion of the population that has to be dedicated to agriculture to feed society, it is most certainly incorrect. In your average pre-industrial society over 80% of the population were farmers. In modern America it is less than a percent.

Lastly, I am uncomfortable with seven. True, under the current system, there are too few checks on biotechnology. I will agree wholeheartedly that under our current regulatory structure you can easily consider it dangerous or even immoral. But he didn't phrase it that way. How he phrased it is as an attack on the science in general. There is a lot of potential to GM foods. It just needs to be controlled properly.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #38
96. Wow -- don't you know that fertilizers recycle hazardous wastes?
Edited on Mon Apr-02-07 09:20 PM by AikidoSoul
How can you give hazardous waste laden "modern fertilizer" credit for its "role in increasing output dramatically..."? That's certainly debatable, but what's disturbing is that you sem to sluff off the considerable cumulative devastating damage to the environment as though it was somehow worth increased output. I'm not even sure that "increased output" valid here.

No matter what your value system on this issue -- here's an article you need to read --it was part of a 29 part series nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. It might turn you around on this when you realize that this is being done all over the U.S. on farms and on lawns and home gardens:

http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis...


Fear In The Fields -- How Hazardous Wastes Become Fertilizer -- Spreading Heavy Metals On Farmland Is Perfectly Legal, But Little Research Has Been Done To Find Out Whether It's Safe

Duff Wilson

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Copyright 1997, Seattle Times Co.

When you're mayor of a town the size of Quincy, Wash., you hear just about everything.

So it was only natural that Patty Martin would catch some farmers in her Central Washington hamlet wondering aloud why their wheat yields were lousy, their corn crops thin, their cows sickly.

Some blamed the weather. Some blamed themselves. But only after Mayor Martin led them in weeks of investigation did they identify a possible new culprit: fertilizer.

They don't have proof that the stuff they put on their land to feed it actually was killing it. But they discovered something they found shocking and that they think other American farmers and consumers ought to know:

Manufacturing industries are disposing of hazardous wastes by turning them into fertilizer to spread around farms. And they're doing it legally.

"It's really unbelievable what's happening, but it's true," Martin said. "They just call dangerous waste a product, and it's no longer a dangerous waste. It's a fertilizer."

Across the Columbia River basin in Moxee City is visual testimony to Martin's assertion. A dark powder from two Oregon steel mills is poured from rail cars into the top of silos attached to Bay Zinc Co. under a federal permit to store hazardous waste.

The powder, a toxic byproduct of the steel-making process, is taken out of the bottom of the silos as a raw material for fertilizer.

"When it goes into our silo, it's a hazardous waste," said Bay Zinc President Dick Camp. "When it comes out of the silo, it's no longer regulated. The exact same material. Don't ask me why. That's the wisdom of the EPA."

What's happening in Washington is happening around the United States. The use of industrial toxic waste as a fertilizer ingredient is a growing national phenomenon, an investigation by The Seattle Times has found.

The Times found examples of wastes laden with heavy metals being recycled into fertilizer to be spread across crop fields.

Legally.

In Gore, Okla., a uranium-processing plant is getting rid of low-level radioactive waste by licensing it as a liquid fertilizer and spraying it over 9,000 acres of grazing land.

In Tift County, Ga., more than 1,000 acres of peanut crops were wiped out by a brew of hazardous waste and limestone sold to unsuspecting farmers.

And in Camas, Clark County, highly corrosive, lead-laced waste from a pulp mill is hauled to Southwest Washington farms and spread over crops grown for livestock consumption.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<SNIP>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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NobleCynic Donating Member (991 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 03:26 AM
Response to Reply #96
104. No. It isn't debatable.
Avoiding the need for crop rotation and other natural forms of nitrogen fixation through the Haber-Bosch process is directly responsible for our current ability to feed the six and a half to seven billion people on this rock. Is it sustainable? Only as long as the natural gas doesn't run out. Regardless, if you took the modern fertilizers out of the equation, within ten years you would likely have half or more of all humanity die of starvation.

As to the EPA allowing hazardous waste to be disposed of in such a manner, it is most certainly wrong headed. Especially where heavy metals are concerned. The old saying is "dilution is the solution to pollution". Unfortunately this doesn't always apply, and some materials are hazardous no matter how low the concentration levels are. I'm not going to defend hazardous waste as an additive to fertilizer. But at the same time, just because some fertilizers have hazardous waste added to them doesn't mean that all commercial fertilizer is bad, evil, or whatever you seem to believe.

All organic is nice and dandy if you don't mind watching alot of people die. It is true that our population is already too large to be sustainable, but perhaps this wouldn't be the best way to reduce it. Adding hazardous waste to fertilized is a terrible thing. Using fertilizer however, is an unavoidable thing.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #104
117. Ready for a little debate on this?

Hello NobleCynic :hi:


You responded to my statement which was: "How can you give hazardous waste laden "modern fertilizer" credit for its "role in increasing output dramatically...? That's certainly debatable..."

You answered, " No. It isn't debatable" Then you went on to describe the Haber-Bosch method of nitrogen fixation.

But nitrogen fixation has nothing to do my arguments against the widespread corporate farming use of toxic hazardous waste laden fertilizers. These are two separate issues which need to be kept separate. The combination of nitrogen and hydrogen to produce ammonia does produce some toxicity, but I was referring to the egregious habit of polluting industries getting rid of hazardous wastes by adding them to synthetic fertilizers. When the Seattle Times hired labs to purchase and test a wide range of fertilizers, almost every one had hazardous wastes --these were for all types of applications from farms -- to lawns -- to home gardens. The only home synthetic fertilizer that didn't have hazardous wastes at the time was MiracleGro! I think that article shocked everyone who read it. It did me.

But since you brought up the Haber-Bosch nitrogen creating, fixing process when you said "...Haber-Bosch process is directly responsible for our current ability to feed the six and a half to seven billion people on this rock."

You are a DUer so I'm going to assume that you don't yet know that that particular statement aligns itself with a corporate view that is loudly and regularly promulgated by industrial agriculture advocates. One of them -- Vaclav Smil, has hundreds of publications promoting the use of industrial farming methods including Haber-Bosch. He claims that the Haber-Bosch process, "made it possible for the worlds population to grow from half a billion to 6.5 billion today." (Smil 2000, Fisher 2001).

So if you give credit to Haber-Bosch for feeding those billions, you might also want to also give it some credit for dramatically increasing the world population as claimed by Smil, Fisher and others. Then... realize that there are about 854 million people in the world that go hungry every single day. According to the World Health Organization -- that's up about 2 million from last year.

I don't give Haber-Bosch all of the credit either way, and in fact it irks me tremendously that there is such myopic focus on such global changes that have many influences. Anyone can hopefully think of other basic favorable conditions that contribute to an environment where human populations can multiply. Food was a foundational part of it -- but so were many other conditions such as access to clean water, sanitation, good housing, safety from wars -- and other basic needs that are at the foundational level of the hierarchy of needs.

Industry funded groups and think tanks are extremely guilty of this same myopia, but after all their task is to promote corporate farming. The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) promotes corporate farming --and one can easily see that it has a severe bias against organic farming. SARE is funded by USDA which controls education about agriculture in this country to a very large degree. SARE regularly publishes inaccurate information about organic farming that is shameful.

You also said re Haver-Bosh industrial fertilizer production: "Is it sustainable? Only as long as the natural gas doesn't run out. Regardless, if you took the modern fertilizers out of the equation, within ten years you would likely have half or more of all humanity die of starvation."

Agree with the first point but vehemently disagree with the second.. Industrial agriculture with its widespread use of the Haber-Bosch fertilizer method, competes with the rest of society that uses North American natural gas -- reported to be depleted. I saw reports claiming that natural is becoming depleted. Look at unemployment trends and notice that natural gas price increases have resulted in nearly 300,000 job losses (you can find those figs in Gerard 2006). Consider too that natural gas is used for cooking and, heating in over 50% of U.S. homes, and that it generates close to 15% of this country's electricity. Plus -- it's used as feedstock for countless products.

Competition for this energy source is a serious negative that should be factored in, and most importantly -- plans must be made to change future behaviors that demand natural gas.

You then say: "But at the same time, just because some fertilizers have hazardous waste added to them doesn't mean that all commercial fertilizer is bad, evil, or whatever you seem to believe."

Please educate me about which ones do not contain hazardous waste. Since labels on fertilizers do not require them to label the hazardous wastes, but instead are permitted to call toxic and even low level radioactive waste "inert ingredients" -- how does the farmer or home owner know what's in the package?

Let me confess to you what my favorite fertilizer is. It's one I think should be federally funded because it is the most fabulous, high-yielding clean, amazing fertilizer that I know of. Even our local extension service ag agent agrees. It's certfied organic vermicompost made exclusively from plants. Around here we call this fertilizer "worm castings" but that's probably what they call it in most places. It is amazing stuff. We put it around our fruit trees and even in flower pots and the plants became incredibly beautiful and productive. It is a dark color, is kind of fluffy, and holds moisture beautifully. Our Myer lemon tree had never produced more than 40 lemons over the past ten years, but last spring we put about 1 inch of worm castings around the tree -- not even to the tree line mind you, and this fall it produced 183 gorgeous, huge, tasty lemons that we spent all day turning into frozen lemon juice. This is nothing short of incredible. Our persimmon trees were also so highly productive that we spent weeks giving them away... whereas before, we greedily yanked them off the trees before the critters got them. Now there's enough for all of us, plus some.

My anecdotal claims are not as important as the science on this -- but it is almost impossible to get any kind of funding. The chem/pharm/bio-science/ag companies discourage any interest in this topic -- and the politics is hostile towards anything that competes with its interests.

You said: " All organic is nice and dandy if you don't mind watching alot of people die. It is true that our population is already too large to be sustainable, but perhaps this wouldn't be the best way to reduce it."

The first sentence assumes that the world could not be fed by family farms all over the world that use organic methods. This has never been tested -- unless you count most of the last 10,000 years before industrial methods came into widespread use. If organic farms surrounded cities, instead of suburbs, we would enjoy sustainable agriculture. The argument that we "cannot feed the world" without industrial methods I think is a bogus argument that is aggressively and relentlessly promulgated by industry. The problem is that the more that monoculture and centralized farming methods grow -- the more vulnerable our large populations become to disaster should these farms collapse because of some disaster.

You said, "Adding hazardous waste to fertilzed (sic) is a terrible thing. Using fertilizer however, is unavoidable thing." I agree. I just want the fertilizer put on my food to come from natural sources, not from poisonous ones.

One of the main places organic farming critics go wrong is the insistence that synthetic fertilizers are necessary because it "creates higher yields". This is argument can only be based on the industrial farming model, not the smaller family farm model. Another repeated error -- industry funded organizations, think tanks, USDA, SARE, Dennis Avery, Reason Magazine -- and many others with an egregious bias towards industrial farming -- keep saying over and over again how "dangerous" organic fertilizers such as manure are.

They completely ignore the dangers of spreading toxic waste on every inch of industrial farmland, along with the devastating impact on the environment. They also ignore the problem that with the industrial method of farming you are essentially "mining" the topsoil because you are taking out more nutrients than you put into the soil. Organic matter creates a healthy soil structure that retains water and prevents erosion. Leaving organic matter in place also serves to feed the next crop. Many organic farmers now don't till the soil, but instead use a method where the existing end-of-cycle plants are broken and left in place to serve as organic matter to provide nutrients for the next crop. Any organic farmer can tell you that this is a healthy method that helps plants cope with disease and insects much better than chemical inputs. Compare this with the industrial method that uses fossil-fuel based fertilizers and industrial methods that destroy the topsoil.

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NobleCynic Donating Member (991 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #117
135. I agree with you more than you realize
My issue with the original piece is that it makes fertilizer out to be such an evil that all use of it must immediately stop. On the point of the hazardous waste, I agree completely. This should not be. And as to the inevitable depletion of natural gas reserves, this does indeed mean that it is unsustainable. But as to not using fertilizer altogether, it isn't something that can be done over night. It may take a hundred years to transition out of it. The danger I feel, is in oversimplifying the issue.

On the hazardous waste, the answer truly is simple. Stop the practice altogether.

On everything else, it becomes far more difficult.

To go completely organic, we would likely have to increase the human labor component tremendously. In this country that would likely mean having to put several million people back on the farm, completely reversing the current demographic trend in the sector. That amount of expertise and interest cannot be created quickly. Such a change to our agricultural system could only be done at the federal level. It is simply too vast an endevor to be done any other way. Moreover, it would be such a long term project, you would have to secure to support of a half dozen different presidencies to see it through. But because it would have to be done from the top down, you have to very careful in not having those in charge screw it up royally. How China completely destroyed their agriculuture under Mao is a good example of what not to do. It has to be orchestrated politically, but the science has to be left out of the politics. Difficult, perhaps impossible.

If you still believe in moving to organic despite the difficulties and higher costs involved, I admire your resolve. It is going to take a hell of a lot of political will for it to happen. If you're advocating a long term gradual shift away from industrial farming (or at least the current unsustainable incarnation) to either small organic farms or at very least, sustainable industrial farming, then you're a visionary. Kudos. If you want it to stop tomorrow, you're a fool, and a dangerous one at that. Either way, you're fighting an extremely powerful lobby. What you're proposing will likely take generations to complete in a manner that doesn't precipitate mass starvation, and the political world has a very short attention span. Good luck.

I think the best you can aim for is making industrial farming sustainable. Not just because of the strength of their lobby in Congress, but because of how titanically difficult it may prove to move that many laborers in the workforce into the farming sector. Would the best case scenario be a return to the family farm? Yes. Is it within the realm of political possibility. Probably not. And that is most unfortunate.

Now for some dissections of the arguments you threw my way:

"So if you give credit to Haber-Bosch for feeding those billions, you might also want to also give it some credit for dramatically increasing the world population as claimed by Smil, Fisher and others. Then... realize that there are about 854 million people in the world that go hungry every single day. According to the World Health Organization -- that's up about 2 million from last year."

Yes, I will also give it credit for enabling the population increase. Or perhaps blame is the better word. But how we got here and how we get ourselves out are ultimately different issues. As to the fact that people still go hungry every day, that is a political failure and has little to do with the fertilizer. Completely different issue.

As to whether or not the Haber-Bosch process is truly responsible for the population increase, you said:

"I don't give Haber-Bosch all of the credit either way, and in fact it irks me tremendously that there is such myopic focus on such global changes that have many influences. Anyone can hopefully think of other basic favorable conditions that contribute to an environment where human populations can multiply. Food was a foundational part of it -- but so were many other conditions such as access to clean water, sanitation, good housing, safety from wars -- and other basic needs that are at the foundational level of the hierarchy of needs."

I disagree wholeheartedly. For staters, most of the population growth is in areas of the world that still have little access to clean water, sanitation, or good housing. And by any measurement, the 20th century was easily one of the more violent and war-ridden in history. At the least, it was no less violent than the norm. Food is the most basic limiter on population growth for all species of animal, including this one.

"The first sentence assumes that the world could not be fed by family farms all over the world that use organic methods. This has never been tested -- unless you count most of the last 10,000 years before industrial methods came into widespread use. If organic farms surrounded cities, instead of suburbs, we would enjoy sustainable agriculture. The argument that we "cannot feed the world" without industrial methods I think is a bogus argument that is aggressively and relentlessly promulgated by industry. The problem is that the more that monoculture and centralized farming methods grow -- the more vulnerable our large populations become to disaster should these farms collapse because of some disaster."

You're right. It has never been tested. But you're wrong in that pre-industrial farming being able to support the population at the time has anything to do with our current situation. The current population is so much larger than the pre-industrial population that there can be no comparison between the family farms of then and now. That family farms were able to support less than a billion has nothing to do with whether they can support seven billion.

Lastly, you said

"But nitrogen fixation has nothing to do my arguments against the widespread corporate farming use of toxic hazardous waste laden fertilizers. These are two separate issues which need to be kept separate. The combination of nitrogen and hydrogen to produce ammonia does produce some toxicity, but I was referring to the egregious habit of polluting industries getting rid of hazardous wastes by adding them to synthetic fertilizers. When the Seattle Times hired labs to purchase and test a wide range of fertilizers, almost every one had hazardous wastes --these were for all types of applications from farms -- to lawns -- to home gardens. The only home synthetic fertilizer that didn't have hazardous wastes at the time was MiracleGro! I think that article shocked everyone who read it. It did me."

and later...

"Please educate me about which ones do not contain hazardous waste. Since labels on fertilizers do not require them to label the hazardous wastes, but instead are permitted to call toxic and even low level radioactive waste "inert ingredients" -- how does the farmer or home owner know what's in the package?"

When the original post complained about modern fertilizer, I took that to mean anything pre-industrial society could not have created or used. Specifically anything Haber-Bosch. You took it to mean fertilizers with hazardous waste. We were both using different definitions for the same term.

To take a devil's advocate position here, the argument for including hazardous wastes in fertilizer is that is an extremely effective solution to dealing with wastes. "Dillution is the solution to pollution." is the old industry saying. It works because some wastes become dangerous only beyond a certain threshold. By spreading a relatively small amount of waste over the entire country, you have effectively made it dissappear as far as having any real effect on the health or well being of anyone.

The refutation is that the political process and not the scientific process has decided which wastes this should be allowed with. Heavy metals are dangerous at any level of concentration. I cannot understand why this is allowed with them. Radioactive wastes on the other hand, provided they do not also fall under the category of heavy metals depending on which element is involved, become relatively safe below a certain concentration. The current structure for determining which wastes this disposal method can be applied to is fatally flawed. The only possible solution at this point is to stop the practice altogether. In theory, if properly managed, scientifically there should be no problem with disposing of wastes in such a manner. In practice, the system cannot be trusted to do so.

In any case, regardless of the science or the safety, hazardous wastes in fertilizer regardless of concentration level is a public relations nightmare. I cannot understand how or why this continues.

Lastly, you said:

"They completely ignore the dangers of spreading toxic waste on every inch of industrial farmland, along with the devastating impact on the environment. They also ignore the problem that with the industrial method of farming you are essentially "mining" the topsoil because you are taking out more nutrients than you put into the soil. Organic matter creates a healthy soil structure that retains water and prevents erosion. Leaving organic matter in place also serves to feed the next crop. Many organic farmers now don't till the soil, but instead use a method where the existing end-of-cycle plants are broken and left in place to serve as organic matter to provide nutrients for the next crop. Any organic farmer can tell you that this is a healthy method that helps plants cope with disease and insects much better than chemical inputs. Compare this with the industrial method that uses fossil-fuel based fertilizers and industrial methods that destroy the topsoil."

You're completely correct. The fossil fuel aspect is not only part of this system that is unsustainable. The environmental side effects of even non-waste infected fertilizer can be horrid. However, industrial farming may not be incompatible with sustainability. The current incarnation of industrial agriculture is unsustainable, but through regulation or law it may be possible to encourage or require sustainability. Such a solution may be more practical than trying to return to a small scale family farm model. Your solution is still the ideal, but getting there may be a little rough.

Regardless, it may be difficult to meet the same levels of output with sustainable methods. Not without a truly tremendous increase in the labor input.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-07 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #135
143. You make some good points... and I even agree with you some of the time
but some things I totally disagree with. Such as your devil's advocate statement, "By spreading a relatively small amount of waste over the entire country, you have effectively made it dissappear (sic) as far as having any real effect on the health or well being of anyone."

This has been the problem all along, and the problem is accumulating everywhere. You can't honestly say this practice isn't "... having any real effect on health."

Also --it doesn't "disappear" as you say. I get reports from hundreds of sources that report ecological system breakdowns, heavy metal accumulation, petrochemicals and heavy metals in our bodies, the bodies of fish and animals, and it's even being taken up by plants. Is this where we want these hazardous wastes stored? Our bodies were never meant to be miniature hazardous waste dumps -- and neither were the critters and plants of the earth.

Another point of disagreement -- nobody said in regards to synthetic fertilizers "that all use of it should immediately stop". Whoa..... please let's stop that one right there. I'm not that unreasonable. It would be insane for anyone to try to do too much too soon.

On the food / population growth idea -- if it's o.k. with you for the time being -- I'd like to drop the argument about what conditions are best, worst, or whatever -- for populations to increase dramatically. It would involve a major dissertation. I'd rather focus on a few things for now (and then I've GOT TO quit for awhile so I can finish my taxes!!) --so let's just focus briefly on fertilizers and whether organic farming methods can feed billions of people, and focus a little more on the problems inherent in the development of organic farming in general, especially the way it is not being done in the United States.

Fertilizer are complicated. There are a wide range of chemical fertilizers used in industrial farming. I think we're in agreement that haz waste additives should not be in fertilizers. Last time I checked, Washington State is the only state that regulates fertilizers... but I haven't researched this in about a year. The articles in the Seattle Times only went so far to influence policy changes -- and though the series was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize -- people have short memories.

I would prefer the widespread use of more sustainable fertilizers. Many organic farmers use large amounts of organic plant debris -- converted into compost -- which makes rich fertilizer and builds soil. Animal manures can be tricky. If animal manure is used by organic farms it requires an extremely strict process where sustained temperatures and time to complete the process of decomposition and transformation must take place before they are certified. Most organic farmers that I know -- prefer plant material for compost, mainly because if animal manure is used it must be certified free of contaminants which is very hard to find. Most animal manure is loaded with hormones, antibiotics, GMO material, and pesticided grain residue, To use organic manure the farmer really needs to raise the animals and feed them only clean grains and grass that are grown on the farm. Many of the larger organic farms do just that.

You may wonder why most industrial farm animals are fed a toxic brew of animal feed impregnated with pesticides -- it's to keep the fly populations! This grosses me out a lot because petrochemical pesticides get not only into the manure -- but move quickly into the fat of the animals because petrochemical pesticides are highly fat soluble (attracted to and store in fat readily).

Here's a link to EPA's site for all the highly toxic pesticides allowed in animal feeds:

http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_99/40cfr186_...

You are absolutely correct that it would take a huge commitment to "go completely organic" -- and it's also true that we are absolutely not doing that with government help here in the U.S. Despite that fact, the organic market is growing by 20% annually over the past several years.

I disagree with the notion that organic farming would be incapable of feeding the billions of people here on earth. The most unbiased studies of yield show that organic farming practices produce high yields of high quality food. They are comparable to industrial farming yields on an acre-by-acre basis. I also disagree with your remark that changing our farms to organic "..would likely mean having to put several million people back on the farm...".

That last comment reflects a common misunderstanding about organic farms. Not all organic farms are devoid of mechanization or efficiencies-of-scale. The image of organic farms is truly misunderstood almost everywhere. Many larger organic farms use modern equipment without losing quality or betraying the values and standards of the certified organic label.

I do agree with you however that it would take a miracle to get the feds to commit to actively supporting organic farming here in the U.S. God, it would be hugely difficult. I think it's mainly because of the enormously powerful chem/pharm/biotech/ag interests that have purchased the souls of Congress -- but even if the federal commitment was small -- say a goal for 20% of all U.S. farming land to go organic -- it would still need to be "...a long term project" as you describe it.

How about a ten year plan?

Germany is doing just that --and Europe is leaping ahead in organic production. The German Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture has an interesting ten year strategic plan with the goal of "...increasing the amount of organically farmed area out of Germany's total agricultural acreage to 20% in 10 years."

http://www.oekolandbau.de/fileadmin/redaktion/bestellfo...

An interesting point made early in the strategic plan is the idea of educating the public and farmers about the meaning of organic and to get rid of the "outdated image" of those committed to these practices as "... technologically backward organic farmers in overalls."

along those same lines it says the plan works to:

"....free the organic farming discussion from ideological ballast. Prejudices arising from ideology continue to keep many farmers, advisers and even scientists from being impartial when examining organic farming. Conversely, we find farmers who over-hastily convert their operations in anticipation
of market opportunities without having made careful plans. On the consumer side, there are people who ascribe all sorts of effects to organic produce that they do not have. Others avoid organic produce on principle because they associate it with an unattractive 'health food freak' image."

**********************

Did you know that organic farming in Europe is growing exponentially? It's probably a secret from most of the world, and certainly from U.S. citizens -- but the European countries have been moving in this direction aggressively for the past ten years. Recently it passed a law prohibiting the marketing of chemicals unless safety is proven. Wow! Think of it. Insuring safety before marketing -- what a concept!

Here's some fascinating details on the incredible increase of organics in Europe, including an outline on the distinctly different government policies in Europe which are set up to ENCOURAGE organic farming... unlike here in the U.S.

These numbers come from 2003 (link below chart) but you can already see that Europe was far ahead of us in land used for organic farming compared to the U.S. If these numbers get scrambled, please to to the web site link below:

EU and U.S. organic sectors, 2003

Country Retail sales Organic operations Organic land Farmland under organic production


Million euros Number Hectares Percent

Austria 400 19,056 328,803 9.7

Belgium 300 688 24,000 1.7

Denmark 339 3,510 165,146 6.1

Finland 212 5,074 159,987 7.2

France 1,578 11,377 550,000 1.9

Germany 3,100 16,476 734,027 4.3

Greece 21 6,028 244,455 6.2

Ireland 40-50 889 28,514 0.7

Italy 1,400 44,039 1,052,002 6.9

Luxembourg NA 59 3,002 2.4

Netherlands 395 1,522 41,865 2.2

Portugal NA 1,507 120,729 3.2

Spain 144 17,028 725,254 2.8

Sweden 420 3,562 225,776 7.4

United Kingdom 1,607 4,017 695,619 4.4

European Union 9,966 134,434 5,099,179 3.9

U.S. 8,047 8,035 889,734 0.2



http://www.organic-europe.net /

After fifty years of chem/pharm/biotech expansion of industrial farming methods in Europe -- certified land used for organic farming has more than doubled in the EU since 1997. Economic reports from three sources confirm that it "rose from 2.1 million hectares (5.2 million acres; 0.405 hectares = 1 acre) in 1997 to 5.1 million hectares in 2003, about 4 percent of total agricultural area. U.S. organic lands increased from 549,406 hectares in 1997 to 889,734 hectares in 2003or 0.24 percent of all agricultural lands. Thus, in 2003, the EU had over five times the amount of organic farmland as the U.S., while the U.S. had three times as much total agricultural land."

Please note: the above quote was taken from the United States Department of Agriculture | Economic Research Service. The article gives source credit saying that some of the material was derived from "Market-Led Versus Government-Facilitated Growth: Development of the U.S. and EU Organic Agricultural Sectors, by Carolyn Dimitri and Lydia Oberholtzer, WRS-05-05, USDA, Economic Research Service, August 2005."


source: http://151.121.68.30/AmberWaves/February06/Features/fea...

*************************



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NobleCynic Donating Member (991 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-05-07 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #143
151. A ten year plan might be acceptable
I apologize for my mistake, I was indeed associating organic farming with abandoning most scale efficient methods. You're likely correct that in truth, little but the fertilizer would need to be changed. I suppose abandoning monoculture would still increase labor input somewhat, perhaps not to the degree I originally thought, as most tractors and other labor saving devices would remain applicable. Provided you don't ask for farming without or with minimal petrol inputs (for machinery and the like, not the fertilizer) you could move at a quicker pace. Ten years could be viable, but for the issue of political will to initiate it in the first place. You'd need at least four or five to build up the infrastructure to produce that much organic fertilizer. And an acceptance that yields will be lower, if not ultimately (and I'm still not certain that on a per acre basis organic produces equal yields), during the period of adjustment yields will be lowered.

Europe might be moving forward, but the US... Still only .2%? Given the premium people are willing to pay for organic, that surprises me. I would have figured the market incentive to be stronger. Although there has been a fairly intense effort to discredit organic in this country, whether simply in the media, or in how the standards have been defined regarding what can be called organic.

As to the devil's advocate argument, it was worth mentioning because that is the official (both EPA and industry) justification for that method of waste disposal. The latest science indicates that is completely incorrect in regards to heavy metals, which are not only accumulative, but potent at any level. But in regards to many other wastes, as abhorrent as it may sound, the science doesn't support the claim that it is harmful.

My thoughts on it are that while in theory, it may be scientifically valid, the management of said system has been too flawed for it to be allowed to continue. Quite simply, the corporate lobbies have had more influence over the process of designing the standards than the scientists. Waste that should never be disposed of in such a manner is.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-06-07 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #151
152. You are basically correct with most of what you're saying here
with a few minor exceptions.

There are actually several papers that debunk the notion that there is a significant yield difference. If you look at some of the arguments for industrial farms, they often skew the numbers by looking at large farms and comparing actual output to smaller organic farms. If you look at yield comparisons on an acre for acre basis --you don't see those kinds of differences.

One can argue that it's better to have many small farms than a few big farms -- there are impressive arguments in favor of this. There are also arguments for industrial, heavily chemicalized farms. The second type have more industry funded studies and for that reason, it's hard to find much promoting organic farming at the university level. Most university affiliated extension services and agriculture departments have very strong financial links to the chem/pharm/biotech industry. That is no secret.

In Europe and Scandinavia there is much more independent and government funded research that is less tainted than here -- and organic farming has increased government support.

You and I agree completely on the problem of political will in this country -- it will take a revolution in the way people think. Global warming may help speed up the argument in favor of organic however because Cornell University and some studies in Europe say they are demonstrating that organic soils (rich in organic matter) absorb and retain carbon. The organic soil retained 15 to 28 percent more carbon compared to industrial farm soil. This is equivalent of removing approximately 3,500 lbs of carbon dioxide per hectare from the air. I have no way to verify these observations -- but certainly this idea should be explored aggressively and either disproved or duplicated so we can know with finality whether this is a viable option. If so, it adds powerfully to the argument in favor of organic.

The problem here in the U.S. (as a DUer you know this) that policies are not necessarily created based on what is good for the soil, the environment, the air, people's health and other concerns. Most policies are driven by corporate influence sectors which have been growing ever more powerful over the past several decades. It's worse now than ever.

This is your statement that I know how to answer best of all:

In regards to haz wastes recycled in fertilizers, (with the exception of heavy metals) - you said: "But in regards to many other wastes, as abhorrent as it may sound, the science doesn't support the claim that it is harmful."

This is what is wrong with that argument. You may not know that a common dirty trick that industry and the federal agencies have been playing successfully for decades occurs when they use the statement: "....there is no scientific evidence that proves harm for...." (here -- name your poison).

The problem is that THE SCIENCE HAS NOT BEEN DONE YET ON MOST SYNTHETIC POISONS!!! They are marketed with extremely limited testing for health issues. One major example should suffice for the moment. There are over 80,000 man-made chemicals on the market -- and only a handful of them have been tested for health effects other than cursory, woefully inadequate testing for acute poisoning (how much of this stuff does it take to kill 50% of the rats -- known as the LD/50.

NO HEALTH TESTING IS EVER DONE for low level, chronic exposures. Worse -- only a handful -- less than 30 of the 80,000+ have ever been tested for neurodevelopmental effects!

That is why so many independent scientists are trying to work on this problem without adequate funding and no support from the government.

It is highly unfortunate that when funding IS supported by the government - such as for (Gulf War Illness / Agent Orange Vets, Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project (LIBCSP), etc., etc.,-- the studies are strategically designed to find nothing.

I have plenty of proof of this last statement, but here's not the place. If you need it, I'll get it to you bit by bit over time.

The U.S. has a very dangerous, very industry friendly, woefully inadequate regulatory structure that creates a complexity of structures and mechanisms to deal with products -- but allows industry to market these products for decades with most of the basic scientific data missing. It's not that EPA doesn't ask for it, it's just that industry is allowed special timetables and schedules for presenting it to EPA, the "deadlines" for which are repeatedly postponed over and over again for decades. GAO wrote a special report on this in the early nineties and it's more true than ever today.

And if you think there is any testing required for any of these hazardous wastes to see how they persist in the soil, leach to water bodies, etc. -- you would be mistaken. So probably most accurate to say that science doesn't support EITHER the safety or the harm done by the adding of haz wastes.

There is also NO reporting mechanism for most of the harm being seen. The government also conducts very limited and controlled testing when damage is reported -- usually with a pat answer like the one we're used to hearing: "there is no scientific evidence...." etc., meanwhile, there are injured populations and dying ecosystems, but no "proof" of the cause.

There is a good change going on in that many more people are giving up on the federal government to protect public health and the environment. And small governments that meet the injured and see the environmental damage -- are investigating problems such as hiring local experts to record high levels of toxic chemicals showing up in air, water and soil. Most testing that is done is done by private interests or small governments is more valid than federal or state funded testing.

Sarasota, FL is starting to wake up because of the huge dead zones in the Gulf. They are working with other FL coast cities to regulate the use of toxic fertilizers on lawns because they are ending up in the Gulf, with terrible effects on water quality and aquatic life. Partly local government officials were influenced by citizens with serious, debilitating chronic health problems caused by toxic chemicals being released into the air on a daily basis.

So when the chem/pharm/biotech firms (that likes to rid itself of its haz wastes by putting it into its fertilizers) say that there is "no science that proves harm to the gulf" --------------we know to say -- "yes, we expected you to say that. Too bad you didn't conduct any science before spreading this stuff all over our country. Now we now that there is almost zero science about effects on health and the environment because nobody is funding such science. Now we can see the damage with our own eyes... our biologists and toxicologists are measuring harmful substances and we are tracing them back to fertilizers and pesticides."

Many different independent entities, and even those traditionally tied to special interests, are becoming very uneasy about the damage that is accumulating and essentially -- screaming for attention.

And attention is what's happening in small pockets of the country. But there is no national leadership in this direction and as a result I think our environment is in great danger.

Thank you sincerely for having this conversation with me. It has been my great pleasure to have an exchange with someone as fair-minded and willing to really think about this as you have shown yourself to be.





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NobleCynic Donating Member (991 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-06-07 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #152
153. A dignified discourse is always appreciated
and I thank you for the opportunity.

I am particularly interested in this statement:

"You and I agree completely on the problem of political will in this country -- it will take a revolution in the way people think. Global warming may help speed up the argument in favor of organic however because Cornell University and some studies in Europe say they are demonstrating that organic soils (rich in organic matter) absorb and retain carbon. The organic soil retained 15 to 28 percent more carbon compared to industrial farm soil. This is equivalent of removing approximately 3,500 lbs of carbon dioxide per hectare from the air. I have no way to verify these observations -- but certainly this idea should be explored aggressively and either disproved or duplicated so we can know with finality whether this is a viable option. If so, it adds powerfully to the argument in favor of organic."

What a novel way to tie in organic farming with the bigger environmental picture. If true, it could be a powerful boon to a campaign to end chemical fertilizers. It will likely prove true, as it seems to be logical assumption. It makes sense to me anyway.

In regards to the devil's advocate argument, I fully realize only in an ideal world with a competent EPA unaffected by the political process could it work in a safe and responsible manner. I agree with you completely that the current regulatory structure has failed. I thouroughly believe that the only way to proceed is to scrap the system completely. No hazardous wastes in fertilizer. There is no problem with it in theory. In practice it is vile.
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gravity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
39. The green revolution saved the lives of billions
The reason the world's population is so big today, is because of all the advancements in food. Industrialized agriculture has increased the yields of crops, and made them able to grow in a greater variety of climates.

There is a reason that food output has increased dramatically over the past 50 years thanks to the scientific achievements in agriculture and biotechnology. We take these advances for granite in the US, but in developing nations, people billions of people would be starving without them.
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. That's what we were taught in public school, but I'm not sure that it's true.
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piedmont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #39
50. The green revolution is a cheap-petroleum supported lie.
Take away the fossil fuels used to make and transport the fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides, work the fields and transport the crop, and you're back to 19th century agriculture. The unsustainably large harvests made possible by the "green revolution" have fueled the population explosion of the last 150 years. That population may now be too large to support once the cheap fossil fuels run out.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #39
111. That's false
Lessons from the Green Revolution

March/April 2000

Do We Need New Technology to End Hunger?

Faced with an estimated 786 million hungry people in the world, cheerleaders for our social order have an easy solution: we will grow more food through the magic of chemicals and genetic engineering. For those who remember the original "Green Revolution" promise to end hunger through miracle seeds, this call for "Green Revolution II" should ring hollow. Yet Monsanto, Novartis, AgrEvo, DuPont, and other chemical companies who are reinventing themselves as biotechnology companies, together with the World Bank and other international agencies, would have the world's anti-hunger energies aimed down the path of more agrochemicals and genetically modified crops. This second Green Revolution, they tell us, will save the world from hunger and starvation if we just allow these various companies, spurred by the free market, to do their magic.

The Green Revolution myth goes like this: the miracle seeds of the Green Revolution increase grain yields and therefore are a key to ending world hunger. Higher yields mean more income for poor farmers, helping them to climb out of poverty, and more food means less hunger. Dealing with the root causes of poverty that contribute to hunger takes a very long time and people are starving now. So we must do what we can-increase production. The Green Revolution buys the time Third World countries desperately need to deal with the underlying social causes of poverty and to cut birth rates. In any case, outsiders-like the scientists and policy advisers behind the Green Revolution-can't tell a poor country to reform its economic and political system, but they can contribute invaluable expertise in food production. While the first Green Revolution may have missed poorer areas with more marginal lands, we can learn valuable lessons from that experience to help launch a second Green Revolution to defeat hunger once and for all.

Improving seeds through experimentation is what people have been up to since the beginning of agriculture, but the term "Green Revolution" was coined in the 1960s to highlight a particularly striking breakthrough. In test plots in northwest Mexico, improved varieties of wheat dramatically increased yields. Much of the reason why these "modern varieties" produced more than traditional varieties was that they were more responsive to controlled irrigation and to petrochemical fertilizers, allowing for much more efficient conversion of industrial inputs into food. With a big boost from the International Agricultural Research Centers created by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, the "miracle" seeds quickly spread to Asia, and soon new strains of rice and corn were developed as well.

http://www.foodfirst.org/media/opeds/2000/4-greenrev.ht...

Turning Scarcity Into Abundance
by Vandana Shiva


Water has grown scarcer in India, as Green Revolution water-guzzling agriculture replaces traditional practices attuned to local water conditions and local needs. Now indigenous water conservation know-how is bringing back sufficiency--and even abundance

I have witnessed the conversion of my land from a water-abundant country to a water-stressed country. I saw the last perennial stream in my valley run dry in 1982 because of the mining of aquifers in catchments. I have seen tanks and streams dry up on the Deccan plateau as eucalyptus monocultures spread. I have struggled with communities in water-rich regions as pollution poisoned their water sources. In case after case, the story of water scarcity has been a story of greed, careless technologies, and taking more than nature can replenish and clean. Over the past two decades, I have witnessed conflicts over development and natural resources mutate into communal conflicts, culminating in extremism and terrorism.

The water cycle connects us all, and from water we can learn the path of peace and the way of freedom. We can learn how to transcend water wars created by greed, waste, and injustice, which create scarcity in our water-abundant planet. We can work with the water cycle to reclaim water abundance. We can work together to create water democracies. And if we build democracy, we will build peace.

Since the 1950s, the Green Revolution has been hailed for its success in expanding the global food supply, particularly in developing nations such as India and China. High-yield miracle seeds were promoted all over the developing world, and the Green Revolution was praised for preventing the starvation of millions of people. The ecological and social costs of the Green Revolution were largely ignored. Through its emphasis on high-yield seeds, this agricultural model replaced drought-resistant local crop varieties with water-guzzling crops. The Green Revolution led to water drawing down aquifers in water-scarce areas.

http://www.yesmagazine.com/article.asp?ID=698

Read these two books:


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gravity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #111
115. It saved billions of lives
You criticize the environmental aspects of it, and the that it's "unnatural" but that it dramatically increased food production so our planet can support such a large population.

To put it bluntly, if you want a world with only organic agriculture, then you will have to kill off a couple billion of people.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #115
122. Totally false
please read some of the material recommended and then return to the topic. The evidence thoroughly refutes this. The social conditions that were in existence were never addressed and so what we have seen is an increase in food deprivation.

Now can you pinpoint exactly where these lives saved have come from? Just saying it, parroting the industrial propaganda, doesn't make it so. So in what regions and in what years were these lives saved? A few examples would strengthen your case.

Now one would also consider that partially responsible for population explosion is the temporary increases in productivity (this is declining and will continue to do so as the soil degrades further) that came at that time. Now with the massive amounts of hunger worldwide one could say that this Green Revolution has not taken care of the children it has brought into the world quite the opposite of your statement.

Stealing from the future.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 02:34 PM
Response to Original message
42. Industrial agriculture uses fertilizers with hazardous waste, even low level radioactive waste!!!!
Some years back Duff Wilson of the Seattle Times (now with the New York Times) wrote an investigative reporting series about how hazardous wastes are routinely recycled into fertilizers, and these haz wastes are NOT REQUIRED TO BE LISTED ON THE LABEL. The people who use them are completely clueless. As shocking as this seems, this activity is actually legal and in keeping with the laws of the U.S. Wilson was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for the 29 part series. He also wrote a book on this topic.

What we learned is so horrific that even if you are a cynical person, it will cut you to the soul to realize how our government fails miserably to protect us from harm. The U.S. DOES NOT REGULATE fertilizers and neither does it regulate the use of hazardous wastes being put into these products. OTHER INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES HOWEVER DO REGULATE FERTILIZERS.. EVEN CANADA. After this series was printed, Washington state began a process to regulate fertilizers in that state, but because it is a single state, this is an iffy venture.

Worse, the U.S. EPA allows the most toxic industries to PROFIT from dispersing its hazardous wastes all over the country by permitting them to be "recycled" into fertilizers. Our government even permits low level RADIOACTIVE hazardous wastes to be "recycled" into fertilizers!!! Normally these hazardous wastes would go to superfund sites, or other haz waste facilities and the polluting industries would be CHARGED for putting them there -- but because of a LOOPHOLE in the law, the EPA allows them to "recycle" them and the polluting industries can actually sell them to fertilizer companies. When converted into an agricultural "product" it loses its haz waste status!

This disgusting mix is then...

Spread on agricultural fields.
Spread on your lawns.
Spread on your vegetable garden!!

The practice of recycling hazardous wastes into fertilizers AFFECTS ALL TYPES OF FERTILIZERS ... NOT JUST THOSE USED ON FARMS. The Seattle Times paid to have many types of fertilizers analyzed, and then responded to citizen requests AND TESTED FERTILIZERS ADVERTISED FOR HOME USE. THESE ANALYSES FOUND THAT MOST THEM CONTAINED HAZARDOUS WASTES LIKE THE ONES FOUND IN FARM FERTILIZERS!

Some links to the articles in this series are below. I think this is extremely important for everyone to know and to spread to those you love.

Other questions you might begin to ask would be.... "are the fertilizers used in Chem-Lawn products any better?" (I would bet my life that they are not) Do they have an ecological program? I doubt it! They use highly toxic pesticides and fungicides....why would they make an effort to exclude haz wastes in their products? Would they be willing for us to spot check them and have them analyzed?
Waste Management, Inc. tried to buy Tru-Green (lawncare chain) a few years back. I suspect it was to "recycle" its waste.

And here are a number of links to a few of the 29 articles that were part of the series at the Seattle Times entitled, "Fear in the Fields: How Hazardous Wastes Become Fertilizers" (not all the articles are available):

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/news/special/fear_fiel...

When this Seattle Times series first came out, outraged citizens and politicians contacted the EPA which said it would "bring under review" this activity, but predicted that it would take a long time to complete. Thus far, there has been no word whatsoever that this activity has received any change in status.


RESOURCES about home fertilizers:

Home Fertilizers: Tests Find Some Safe, Some Not

http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis...

Another travesty -- it is known by the feds that many leafy plants take up heavy metals and yet no research is done to find out how that affects the health of mammals. The only person in the U.S. that's studying this (that I know of) is one lonely scientist at the Univ. of Washington that struggles for funding.


:grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr:
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #42
51. US-Europe Heavy Metal Contaminant Standards
United States stands alone

When it comes to spreading sludge on agricultural land, the United States has the most relaxed standards for metals among developed nations. Standards for heavy metals are up to 100 times higher than any other country has ever proposed (Table 2, (1, 3-7)). To make this comparison, U.S. standards, expressed as cumulative loadings, or total permissible additions of sludge on a metric tons per hectare basis, have to be compared with European standards, expressed in terms of concentration in treated soil. Although these comparisons require an assumption about how far down into the soil the sludge is mixed, the differences between the standards are so large as to overwhelm any uncertainty in the conversion.

Everyone agrees that sludge contains toxic metals, although at what level and when such metals might cause harmful effects are largely unknown. In most cases, the metals are not a problem now, but they could be an issue sometime in the future, between 50 and 500 years hence. Many European scientists favor the low estimate, whereas many U.S. scientists favor the high one. Depending on who is right, farmers could be risking potentially dreadful consequences because once damaged, soil could be almost impossible to fix. Faced with these questions, EPA scientists decided that they already knew enough to make some decisions. We know more than enough to say with confidence that high-quality sludge can be used practically forever on farmland without any adverse effects, says Rufus Chaney, a U.S. Department of Agriculture soil scientist in Beltsville, MD, who is one of EPA's principal science advisors and a vigorous champion of the U.S. approach.
TABLE 2 Heavy metal contaminant standards

There is no general agreement concerning the maximum allowable concentrations of various metals in sewage sludge.

Country Year Cd Cu Cr Ni Pb Zn Hg
European Communitya (3) 13 50140 100150a50300 150300 11.5
France (1) 1988 2 100 150 50 100 300 1
Germanyb (1) 1992 1.5 60 100 50 100 200 1
Italy (1) 3 100 150 50 100 300 -
Spain (1) 1990 1 50 100 30 50 150 1
The Netherlandsc (4):
Clean soil reference values 0.8 36 100 35 85 140 0.3
Intervention values 12 190 380 210 530 720 10
United Kingdomd (5) 3 135 400a 75 300 200e 1
Denmark (1) 0.5 40 30 15 40 100 0.5
Finland (1) 0.5 100 200 60 60 150 0.2
Norway (6) 1 50 100 30 50 150 1
Sweden (1) 0.5 40 30 15 40 100 0.5
United Statesf (7) 20 750 1500 210 150 1400 8

Cd= Cadmium
Cu= Copper
Cr= Chromium
Ni= Nickel
Pb= Lead
Zn= Zinc
Hg= Mercury

http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/Sewage-Sludge-Pros-C...
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #51
55. Heavy metals, toxic waste, radioactive waste allowed in US fertilizers


The item you posted shows that the U.S. allows the highest levels of heavy metals in the world. Methinks the feds don't even measure the amounts at all -- based on what I've read thus far. Maybe those high limits are set partially because they are so absurdly high. When there's a huge build-up in the soil -- well the feds will do the same thing they do when they encounter higher, previously un-allowed levels on toxic stuff in say... water. The feds solve the problem BY RAISING THE ALLOWABLE LEVELS!!

All of this makes me so sad. The public is not told this enough -- it's the rare article, the rare report.

We are so brainwashed in the U.S. How many times have we heard how we have the "safest food supply in the world..." and other BS propaganda comes to mind... like the "best health care in the world"

What a crock...

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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #51
132. Nice job of cherry picking the information.
Your presentation of only one side of the information in that balanced article substantiates every impression I've gotten from you before: you are terrified of technology and science. You use scientific information when it supports your preconceived notions and dismiss the rest.

I call bullshit. Again.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-07 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #132
144. I'm not sure I understand
Are you saying those figures are inaccurate? If so could you present some facts of your own that dispute these figures?

You are very confused. Or perhaps you have a vested or ideological interest in Biotech that blinds you from what is in front of your face. You do not recognize bad science I'm afraid. You have not been able to refute any of the numerous well-documented positions in this thread with anything other than "I say it is" or some ad hominen attacks.

Fortunately I am able to overcome my fear of technology and turn on the computer to type these words.

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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-05-07 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #132
148. You seem to be afraid of a real debate
Accusing the OP of being "afraid of science" is a typical industry brainwashed view replete with below-the-belt ad hominem style tactics -- most often used by those who are in fact themselves not able to present a fair and intelligent case. Attacks are not debates.

You're either brainwashed and/or enamored of such tactics, or simply lack the capacity, discipline and will to present a well-documented debate.

The OP has completely out-classed you on every level.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
44. As a Biotech major, I dispute assertion #7
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #44
49. Odin2005 - so you say you dispute the OP's item number 7?
As a biotech student, it might be possible that you never hear about the downside. This is what you said you disagreed with:

The OP stated: "The Truth - New biotech crops will not solve industrial agricultures problems, but will compound them and consolidate control of the worlds food supply in the hands of a few large corporations. Biotechnology will destroy biodiversity and food security, and drive self-sufficient farmers off their land."

Here are just a tiny few of the concerns listed by others based on the evidence --with some documentation. See whether you agree that food / plant diversity, food security, and farmer's self-sufficiency, and I would add ability to farm using seeds that they and the rest of the word trust -- is also at stake:
********************************************************

CONTAMINATION of heirloom and standard crops that are preferred by many, many farmers -- is occurring all over the U.S. and Canada

-- in this instance corn:

GMO Food Contamination is Forever

http://www.mercola.com/2002/aug/10/gmo_crops.htm .

"Aventis is asking the government to legalize genetic pollution." (my comment: because it is showing up everywhere).

"CDC is investigating the claims of 44 people who said they got sick after eating corn products, he said. Wichtrich said only dry-milled corn products -- those made from corn meal, grits and flour -- are in danger of being contaminated. Wet milling, which produces corn syrup and oil, kills the protein, he said. Aventis, which employs 550 people at its North America headquarters in RTP, has taken hundreds of angry phone calls from farmers, grain elevator managers and food processors.

Aventis has 87 people working on rerouting the corn, and another group of scientists looking into the allergy question, Wichtrich said."

****************************************************************

Organic farmers gain key piece of evidence in class action

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada publicly released a study today on the Isolation Effectiveness in Canola Seed Production. The study discloses that growers producing Certified canola seed for the conventional canola market cannot prevent genetic contamination of their seed by Monsanto's Roundup Ready Canola and Aventis's Liberty Link genetically modified (GM) canolas. The contamination was so severe that the research scientists who did the study recommended that four varieties of canola seed sold in the conventional canola market be withdrawn or Breeder and Foundation seed sources for the varieties be cleaned up.

In 2000-2001 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) undertook a study for the Canadian Seed Growers Association (CSGA) to look at whether the isolation distances used by certified seed growers were effective in preventing genetic contamination by Round Up Ready and Liberty Link GM canola varieties. It took months of pressure on behalf of the Saskatchewan certified organic farmers engaged in a class action lawsuit against Monsanto and Aventis to obtain a copy of this important publicly-funded study.

Results show that even with the strict isolation distance and inspection standards required by certified seed growers, contamination occurs. In the case of one very experienced grower mentioned in the study, the contamination level was as high as 7.20%. This unusually high level of contamination led the researchers to conclude that the foundation seed itself was highly contaminated.

Seventeen of the 70 samples tested showed contamination that exceeded the purity required for Certified seed (99.75%) and 30 of the 70 samples exceeded the purity required for Foundation seed (99.95%). Only two of the 70 samples would be considered acceptable seed for organic production. The study concluded that "... the present isolation distance of 100m provides adequate but not complete protection from foreign pollen." And further, that the "... large number of canola seeds normally planted per acre plus the high probability that a small percentage of herbicide tolerant seeds will be present in most Certified seed lots has and will continue to result in significant herbicide tolerant plant populations in most commercial canola fields."

It follows that certified organic farmers, whose standards strictly prohibit contamination by GM varieties, are highly unlikely to be able to produce a crop free of RoundUp Ready or Liberty Link contamination, thus losing the opportunity to serve the lucrative certified organic canola market.

SNIP

http://www.saskorganic.com /

********************************************************************************************
SUPERWEEDS CREATED BY BIOTECH INDUSTRY

"Scientists shocked at GM gene transfer

Paul Brown, environment correspondent
Thursday August 15, 2002
The Guardian

Weeds have become stronger and fitter by cross-breeding with genetically modified crops, leading to fears that superweeds which are difficult or impossible to control may invade farms growing standard crops. "

SNIP

http://www.guardian.co.uk/gmdebate/Story/0,2763,774794,...

*********************************************************************************
BIOTECH CONTROLLING seed availability -- farmers unable to find standard seed that they say produces better crops and protects their land.
Farmers catchin' on to the problems with biotech cotton

(January 18, 2001 Cropchoice news) -- Small-scale, family cotton farmers are concerned. In the South and in California, many growers face the difficult task of finding non-genetically engineered seeds. This opposition to biotech forms part of the work that farmers, agricultural organizations and businesses are doing to grow cotton in a sustainable manner.

The situation is especially grim in Mississippi, Arkansas, and southern Missouri. Delta and Pine Land seeds account for 84 percent of the cotton varieties, and Stoneville controls the other 16 percent, says Jim Worstell, Ph.D., quoting from U.S. Department of Agriculture figures. Of that seed, more than 99 percent is genetically modified.

"In some regions, no non-GMO seed is offered for sale," he says. "Farmers in our region recognize the poorer seed quality and even lower yields of GMO varieties, but they have been convinced by Monsanto advertising that they have to have the GMO genes."

SNIP

http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry0a9e.html?recid=212

*********************************************************************************************************

USDA HIDES ANOTHER BIOTECH DISASTER

Bayer CropScience kept it a secret that its genetically modified rice contaminated public food supplies. The government was only too happy to help.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that U.S. commercial long-grain rice supplies are contaminated with "trace amounts" of genetically engineered rice unapproved for human consumption.
The genetically engineered (G.E.) rice is known as Liberty Link (LL) 601. Its genetic code has been modified to provide resistance to herbicides and is illegal for marketing to humans because it has not undergone environmental and health impact reviews by the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). LL601 was field-tested from 1998 to 2001 under permits granted by the USDA, but Bayer Corp Science, the developer of the experimental rice, did not seek commercial approval for it.

http://www.alternet.org/story/41012/?comments=view&cID=...

<<<SNIP>>>

**********************************************
HUGE LOSSES FOR RICE FARMERS IN THE UNITED STATES CAUSED BY GENE CONTAMINATION:

http://www.genecampaign.org/genenews/gnes-archives=sept...

August 22,2006

Following reports of the presence of LLRICE601 in commercially available rice, trading partners abroad tightened biotech controls. _ Consequently, Wall Street Journal reported major disruptions in the rice market such as rapidly declining prices causing damage to farmers, companies and biotech firms. Reuters reported that rice prices hit an all time low in two months time amidst speculations of further fall in the export market.

US rice growers account for about 12 percent of the world rice trade with three-fourths of the crop comprising of long grain rice.

August 23,2006

The European Commission decided that the EU would require US to certify that long grain rice imports are free from the unauthorized strain. The Commission said validated tests must be done by an accredited laboratory and be accompanied by a certificate.

Under EU food safety legislation, only those GMOs that have under-gone a thorough scientific assessment and authorization procedure may be put on the EU market. Further, EU food law principle require business operators to ensurethat the LLRICE 601 variety does not enter the food chain and imports are free from this unauthorized variety.

August 26,2006

GM free Cymru, a GM watchdog group urged all UK supermarket chains to take all products containing US long grain rice off the Shelves.

It reminded supermarket chiefs that LLRICE 601 has never been tested for safety nor approved for cultivation in EU or US in spite of assurances from the US Secretary of Agriculture that it is 'completely safe'.

It also expressed concern that this issue of contamination is serious since American long grain rice is a primary food consumed unprocessed by millions of consumers across the EU. It is also used as in baby food as cereal.

August 28,2006

Rice farmers in the southern states of Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and California filed a lawsuit against Bayer Crop Science alleging that it failed to check the illegal rice variety from entering the food chain and contaminated their crops.

They alleged that due to its failure to check contamination, Japan and EU have placed strict limits on US rice imports. Rice prices have decreased considerably after the ban, hence jeopardizing their rice exports.

September 12,2006

The USDA has been reported to have initiated fast-track market approval of Bayer's illegal GM rice.

Bayer Crop Science have asked the USDA to grant retroactive market approval of the illegal rice.

<<<<<<snip>>>>>>>>

September 18,2006

European Commission confirmed that 33 out of 162 results of rice samples tested by members of the European Federation of Rice Millers tested positive for the LL601 strain. It also reported that three bargeloads of a US rice cargo detained in Rotterdam tested positive for the illegal variety.

Switzerland's largest retailer Migros confirmed presence of traces of this rice variety, following which retailers like Migros and Coop suspended sales of long-grain US rice.

In Germany, Greenpeace tests revealed that the illegal rice was found in products sold in eight of the Aldi Nord chain of supermarkets. All sales of the rice in question were stopped.

France and Sweden have also detected LLRICE601 in imported US supplies. France discovered the presence of the banned variety in more than a third of the tested samples (7 out of 19).

Greenpeace Southeast Asia expressed fears of serious risks posed to the whole of Southeast Asia mainly because rice is the staple diet of the people of this region.

September 19,2006

Tesco Ireland withdrew some of its own-brand US long grain rice as a precautionary measure and declared that any American long grain rice to be packed for Tesco in future will be tested and verified as GM-free.

Germany's leading supermarket chain Edeka has removed US rice from its stores on the basis that it cannot be clearly established at present how genetically modified rice could have been mixed with normal rice from the United States.

<<<<<SNIP>>>>>>

September 28,2006

Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry's (MAFF) Food Department will start testing all U.S. short-and medium-grain rice imports (whole and broken kernels)and existing rice stocks for the presence of Bayer Crop Science LLRICE601.Testing will begin with a shipment of U.S. rice that is scheduled to arrive in Japan Sept. 30,2006 but will not apply to processed products. Future import samples will be drawn from the product at loading in the United States and air mailed to Japan for testing at MAFF's expense. The first results of testing on U.S. rice held in MAFF warehouses in Japan will reportedly be available by next week with all stocks test results ready by late October.


********************************************

Whether you're a biotech student or a regular citizen trying to wade your way through a tangle of misinformation and hype -- we all need to dig deeply and make up our own minds about these issues.... and then express our opinions before someone else makes all the regulatory decisions for us. That is already the modus operandi of corporations and federal regulatory agencies in the U.S. -- under-regulate everything until a problem is found. Meanwhile -- DON'T LOOK FOR THE PROBLEMS.

That is the problem with the U.S. system -- which differs enormously from Europe and Scandinavia.


Citizens are generally unaware that many FDA procedures for developing regulations date from the beginning of the twentieth century and has not changed its MO to deal with today's toxicities and potential problems with genetically modified organisms. FDA also does not have the manpower or funds to do the job even if it was done with modern constructs.

Unless we eat everything grown and raised organically, we are probably eating genetically modified foods because the biotech industry made sure that all its genetically modified products on this side of the ocean would not be labeled -- to protect its bottom line. Biotech did not want somebody looking at the label and saying, "uh, uh....I'll wait until it's proven safe..."

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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #44
52. With what evidence?
Make the case.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #52
56. The problems with GMOs have to do with regulating the industry, NOT the technology itself.
The problem right now is that there is little preventing Monsanto and Co. from abusing the technology. What is needed is regulation to prevent the abuses and laws to protect farmers from the seed companies' shenanigans. What is NOT needed is hysteria and total bans.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #56
59. Let me ask one single question. How do you "regulate" trillions of GMO pollen floating in the air?


This is the pandora's box of uncontrollable technology.

If you really feel like doing some work here -- tell us how one regulates the spread of superweeds?


What about the GMO fish that are escaping into the wild and obliterating stocks of wild fish?

How to you stop the spread of seed from GMO crops from being spread by pollinators?

:think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think:
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #56
62. That's not much of a case
Again I ask you to use the evidence at hand to make the case that GMO's will feed the world.

You do know that even the higher ups in the Biotech companies have backed off this false promise?

People should be totally outraged and up in arms at the destructive practices of industrial agriculture of which GMO's are only the latest abomination.

Yes there should be a total ban immediately. It has no use and uses copious amounts of energy to boot?

Have you ever been to Monsanto's massive BioTech center overlooking the Missouri River in St. Charles, Mo? Have you seen how much energy this place uses? Have you checked out the amount of energy used at various Biotech operations at US Universities? It's appalling.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #62
76. Where's your evidence for #7?
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #76
84. Here it is
But first let everyone who reads this be aware that the question asked of those to provide evidence that BioTech will feed the world has been completely avoided by those who would defend this. So let me put it to you can you show evidence that this is even remotely possible? Do you know how energy intensive is BioTech? Do you know how incredibly wasteful is the entire process, how much pollution it causes (and I'm not just talking about genetic drift)? So again let it be known that you have turned the original question around because you simply can't answer it because it is a lie.

Now here's an answer you your evasion:

Even the representatives of biotech companies - such as Steve Smith of Novartis and Paul Rylott of Aventis - have publicly declared that "feeding the world" claims are a myth. But you knew this right? Only corporate whores like Jack Gabriels seem still to be spreading this scientifically unjustifiable lie.

"If anyone tells you that GM is going to feed the world, tell them that it is not. To feed the world takes political and financial will"
Steve Smith, SCIMAC and Novartis (now SYNGENTA), Tittleshall Village Hall public meeting on proposed local GM farm scale trial, 29th March 2000

"GM crops may reduce chemical use and they may increase yields - but GM crops will not feed the world."
Paul Rylott - Aventis - at a public meeting at Low Burnham, Lincs on Wednesday 18th April 2001

Will Biotechnology Feed the World's Poor?

Biotechnology can never be a cure for hunger - Famines are not caused by lack of food but by lack of access to food and alternative sources of income in times of crisis. There are ample reserves of food in the world today yet the numbers of malnourished run into hundreds of millions. Increasing agricultural production (even assuming that this is possible through biotechnology) whilst leaving the structural causes of poverty and hunger unaddressed is a recipe not for feeding the world but for continuing to starve sizable numbers within it.

Biotechnology creates dependency - Biotechnology goes hand in hand with intensive agriculture, with single crops in large fields. The majority of Third World farmers are small-scale, farming a variety of crops. By switching to genetically engineered seeds they have to change their practices and become dependent on the companies which provide the "package" of seeds, herbicides, fertilizers, irrigation systems, etc. In India, farmers using Monsanto's genetically engineered seeds pay an extra $50 - $65 per acre as a 'technical fee' over and above the price of seed. Farmers who do business with Monsanto must sign a contract stating that they will not buy chemicals from any one else.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FAO report reveals GM crops not needed to feed the world

(the address of this page is www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/faoreport.htm )

By 2030 the world's population is expected to top eight billion. Can the world produce enough food to meet global demands? The answer is yes, according to a new report from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) Global Perspective Studies Unit completed in April and released at the end of July.

This conclusion is reached by FAO experts whose quantitative analysis specifically does NOT allow for any production improvements from genetically modified (GM) crops. These are not factored in by FAO due to the ongoing uncertainties regarding the technical performance, safety and consumer acceptance of GM crops. (p.2)

Accordingly the FAO projections are restricted to being based on 'present-day' technical knowledge only (p.1, 2, 95, 117). Ignoring the impact of any future developments in genetic engineering, and using a baseline year of 1995/7, the FAO report reveals that:

* the latest assessment of world population trends by the UN (UN,1999) indicates that there is a 'drastic deceleration' in world demographic growth in prospect. (p.3)

* the growth rate of the world population, which had peaked in the second half of the 1960s at 2.1 percent p.a. and had fallen to 1.3 percent p.a. by the late 1990s, is projected to fall further to 1.0 percent by 2015, to 0.7 percent by 2030 and to 0.3 percent by 2050. (p.4, 25)

* although the annual rate of growth in global crop production is expected to reduce, the projected overall increment in world crop production to 2030 of 57% (p.95, 96) will exceed population growth. (p.25)

* global per capita food consumption will grow significantly. The world average will approach 3000 kcal/person/day in 2015 and exceed 3000 by 2030. Average consumption in developing countries will rise from 2626 in the 1990's to 3020 in 2030. (p.4, 23, 29)

http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/faorepor...

The Food and Agriculture Organisation is the largest autonomous agency within the United Nations. Its report "Agriculture: Towards 2015/30", can be obtained at http://www.fao.org/es/ESD/at2015/toc-e.htm .


And you're aware of this?

GE fantasy shattered by human genome project

"In everyday language the talk is about a gene for this and a gene for that. We are now finding that that is rarely so. The number of genes that work in that way can almost be counted on your fingers, because we are just not hard-wired in that way."
Craig Venter, Celera Genomics, 12 February 2001

(The address of this page is www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/GEfantasy.htm )

13 February 2001

Although few may have yet noticed, the primitive scientific model on which the foundations of genetic engineering have been constructed was dealt a quiet but earth-shattering blow this week with the formal publication of the base pair sequence of the human genome. That at least must be the ultimate conclusion to be drawn from what has now been revealed (see press reports below).

Although the human genome project is nominally specific to our own genetic code, the "surprising" nature of its results have much broader implications relating to science's understanding of the genome functioning of all species. The project graphically demonstrates that organism biochemistry is driven as much (if not considerably more so) by the multi-dimensional relationships between the thousands of genes involved (which are in turn symbiotically linked to the functioning of the organism as a whole in its environment), as it is by the previously assumed linear influence of individual genes which has largely dominated scientific thinking up until now.

<snip>

Even though this model now has no option but to surrender to the concept of the multi-dimensional genome - where relationships rather than components predominate - there is little corrective action that genetic engineers can now take to limit the inherently large risk quotient associated with the use of recombinant DNA that has been exposed by this new understanding. This is simply because almost nothing is currently known about such relationships, despite the fact that they are ultimately responsible for the way in which all proteins in an organism (250,000 in the case of a human) are generated.

Developing a proper understanding of those relationships (not only within individual organisms but beyond them in the overall context of their environment) is now the principal challenge facing the biotechnology community. It is an awesome, and in practical terms, a hugely expensive one. To quote from an earlier press interview with Craig Venter, the American scientist who lays claim to having been the first to produce the 'complete' sequence of the human genome: "We know shit about biology." <*>

Ultimately what the human genome project is beginning to demonstrate is that the 'core' objections to genetic engineering voiced by its critics are proving to reflect a more complete scientific understanding of genetics than that of the genetic engineers themselves. Meanwhile the genetic engineers continue to operate on a predominately linear model of genetic function and influence which is now demonstrably obsolete. This linear fantasy was, of course, always an extremely naive concept even at the time of its conception.

http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/GEfantas...

I know it's a lot to read but it's time people woke up to the ugly truth that ALL of Biotech is a massive fraud being perpetrated upon us and it's collaborators are endangering us all.

The use of "To feed the world" as a promotion and purpose of Biotech is the most cynical of lies.

It's dishonest.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #84
88. That's got nothing to do with #7.
And it's not evidence, just weird opinion pieces.

Furthermore, it's a strawman. Biotech's not saying it can solve problems with warlords controlling food access.

Talk about dishonest.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #88
89. You bailed out n/t
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #89
90. You never left the ground.
:shrug:
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #90
121. You are in denial --and should apologize to the OP for wasting his time
as you produced nothing but simplistic criticisms and made no effort at a real debate.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #121
128. "made no effort at a real debate."
Actually, I debunked every one of his original points and the OP failed to respond.

:shrug:
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-07 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #128
137. Naughty you --- you must not have read his detailed replies to you -- n/t
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-07 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #137
146. I guess that's true.
I haven't read detailed replies because he hasn't posted them. I've read weird opinion pieces he's posted. Stuff about how the Human Genome Project is supposed to undermine the biotech industry, and nonsense like that. But he certainly hasn't posted anything that's substantiated any of his claims.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #88
95. Actually it's you who is being unfair-- and with shallow comments, not facts
Edited on Mon Apr-02-07 08:51 PM by AikidoSoul
There are posts on this site, plus news articles, reporting the impoverishment of small farmers all over the world due to the pushing of biotech on them.

Plenty has been written about this over the past few years. One major theme describes how chem/pharm/agro companies have prevented small farmers all over the world from saving their seed.

How in God's name is that "feeding the world"?

Forcing these impoverished farmers to buy chem/pharm's seed.

Forcing these impoverished farmers to buy chem/pharm's chemicals.

It is truly impoverishing these people further.

This industry is also patenting genetic code of seeds that has existed for thousands of years -- that generations of these farmers have used in their own fields.

And that's one of the many good reasons farmers have rioted all over the world about the unfair tactics of this industry.

You still have not even close to making your case -- but only have succeeded in making shallow attacks on the OP.

edit: changed verb from sing to plural
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-07 07:45 PM
Response to Reply #95
145. ...
"There are posts on this site, plus news articles, reporting the impoverishment of small farmers all over the world due to the pushing of biotech on them.

Plenty has been written about this over the past few years. One major theme describes how chem/pharm/agro companies have prevented small farmers all over the world from saving their seed."

I've read plenty of articles on this site about biotech and little of it is anything but conspiracy theories, strawmen, and pseudoscience. Posted by people who either don't read what they're posting, or don't understand it.

"How in God's name is that "feeding the world"?"

They're feeding the world by creating drought resistant, pest resistant, and nutrient rich crops. What are you doing to feed the world?

"Forcing these impoverished farmers to buy chem/pharm's seed."

Nobody's forcing anybody to buy GM seeds. Farmers buy them because they like the product.

"This industry is also patenting genetic code of seeds that has existed for thousands of years -- that generations of these farmers have used in their own fields."

No, they're patenting codes that they've invented. If it were seeds the farmers have been planting for generations, they'd be unpatentable.

"And that's one of the many good reasons farmers have rioted all over the world about the unfair tactics of this industry."

How about a link to these world-wide riots?
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-05-07 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #145
147. You are obviously not well-read on this topic. You need to examine your conscience
Edited on Thu Apr-05-07 10:40 AM by AikidoSoul
and see whether maybe you avoid reading about these well-documented issues because you seem pre-disposed not to want to learn about them.

This thread did provide links to the issues you say are not documented. You either didn't read them, cannot comprehend what you're reading, or have an ideological bias that keeps you from being able to accept certain information -- even though it's well documented. There were ample sources for you to choose from.

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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-05-07 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #147
150. I'm quite well read on the subject.
In fact, it appear's you're the one with the slightest notion of how patent law works.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-06-07 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #150
154. Chem/Pharm/Biotech firms are patenting seeds that have existed for centuries
and you may think this is fair, but why should a corporation have a right to patent nature?

I can agree that if the company creates a novel seed -- a new one -- that the right exists to patent it. But not life forms that have been around for hundreds and thousands of years.

Even the World Trade Organization has been under increasing pressure to re-think it's policies of allowing undue influence by Chem/Pharm/Biotech that repeatedly has tried to patent seeds found only in nature. This is demonstrated at the web site below describing the Spring 2006 World Trade Organization Summit on Food and Patenting:

"It is impossible to discuss GM foods without also talking about the international controversy surrounding the patenting of seeds. The TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement of the WTO was designed to protect intellectual property rights consistently around the world, but it has been criticized for placing the patent rights of multinational corporations over the traditional knowledge of the world's small farmers and indigenous peoples. TRIPS was written to protect the expensive inventions of biotechnology companies, but it has also been used to discourage farmers from saving and sharing "patented" seeds that have been used for centuries. Some believe that the TRIPS agreement is in need of revision, especially with regard to the patenting of seeds and food. "

Here's the link here -- and you'll find this paragraph 4:

http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/20_04/wto204.s...

So if the Chem/Pharm/Biotech firms can patent seeds that have existed in nature for hundreds or thousands of years -- what's to stop them from patenting animals and fish, etc?
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-06-07 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #150
155. You are completely ignorant on this topic
and quite disingenuous.

So perhaps we can go over the entirety of the original posting point by point starting with Point #1 that industrial agriculture will feed the world.

Do you believe this point to be true? Do you believe that industrial agriculture will feed the world?

I will be patient. Will you be honest?
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-06-07 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #145
156. Can you cite some examples?
"They're feeding the world by creating drought resistant, pest resistant, and nutrient rich crops."
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bettyellen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-06-07 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #56
159. Gosh, where'd ya go, college boy? LOL......
everyone's a science geek until you ask them to deal with reality. tks for nada, sport!
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #44
80. As a natural human being of planet Earth, I dispute your dispute
Don't give me no steenkin occult and unlabeled mutant cloned genetically perverted industrial food product.

Give me and my family clean food. Period.

If ag industry wants to pollute the planet with mutant life forms, let them label it.

TELL THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY ARE EATING AND LET THEM EXERCISE FREE WILL CHOICE.
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Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
53. Equilibrium will be restored to the planet. Even if it means we
go extinct. One thing is for sure, it will be our fault and we could have prevented it.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
54. #3 Truth is Impossible
If you added the real cost of industrial food-its health, environmental, and social costs-to the current supermarket price, not even our wealthiest citizens could afford to buy it.

If you look at the numbers, I think you'll realize that statement is mathematically impossible.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #54
70. If you thought about it a bit more you would see that it's reasonable
to say that the "real costs" are beyond comprehension and would in fact cost trillions if factored properly. If the wealthy had to clean up the damage, there's no way they could afford it. The damage to environment, health and social well-being are the "real costs".

Not even Bill Gates and all the top 1% of the country could afford to pay for the cleanup and restoration of air and water and our soil --all of which have been polluted by the spread of hazardous wastes all over this country via corporate farming technologies. That's not even counting the enormous costs to farmers who are being put out of business by GMO contamination of their crops that can no longer be sold as organic, or for export to countries that prohibit GMO food.

If you just looked at the pesticides and hazardous wastes alone, you would concede your point. Read reply #42 on this post about how highly toxic hazardous wastes are recycled into fertilizers used in corporate farming. These are also put into home and garden fertilizer products. Hazardous wastes from pesticide plants, low-level radioactive waste, chemical companies, -- and a wide range of other toxic industries - found a loophole in the law. Instead of having to pay to sequester their haz wastes at toxic waste dumps -- which cost them money -- they are allowed to "recycle" the wastes into fertilizer.

That has been spread everywhere for decades but without public knowledge. The fertilizer packages still say "inert ingredients" for the portion that contains haz wastes.

Can you possibly calculate these costs to our personal health?... such as:

The costs to clean up our polluted bodies of water.
The costs to clean up our polluted water tables.
The costs of cleaning up our air.
The costs of ACQUIRING clean water.
The costs of cleaning and recovering our depleted and poisoned soil.
The cost of medical treatment for diseases resulting from toxic exposures.

What are the costs to reduce:

The buildup of toxicants in our bodies.
The buildup of toxicants in animals.
The buildup of toxicants in fish.


Social costs:

These are for the experts -- honestly, I don't even know where to begin. Maybe someone else can help here. I'm sure they're related to the above items.

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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #70
106. You didn't look at the numbers
Edited on Tue Apr-03-07 09:35 AM by Nederland
Remember, I said that if you look at the numbers you'll see that the statement is mathematically impossible. You didn't look at the numbers, so you still don't understand why you are wrong.

Just look at the numbers for food sales in the US and you'll see what I mean.

http://www.plunkettresearch.com/Industries/FoodBeverage...
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #106
119. Nederland -- you totally ignored the OPs statement when you made your
argument. Take a look please at what you are supposed to be responding to. The OP said:

"If you added the real cost of industrial food-its health, environmental, and social costs-to the current supermarket price, not even our wealthiest citizens could afford to buy it."

So why then did you pluck some web site that only includes the cost of food production? You forgot to consider the important items that made the OP's point -- the costs of damage to health and the environment -- plus the social costs?

That was what I was trying to illustrate in my post but you seemed to miss the point.

:think:

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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #119
123. You don't get it
I completely understand what the OP is saying, you just don't understand why it's mathematically impossible. If you had looked at my link, you'd understand that total food sales in the US is around 1 trillion dollars. Now I understand that what the OP is saying is that number does not represent the "true" cost of food in this country. There are all sorts of other costs involved not reflected in that number: health, environmental, and social costs. I get that, and in fact I agree with it. However, what I'm saying is that even with those extra costs, food could never be so expensive that even the wealthy couldn't afford it.

How do I know this? Simple, I'll break it down for you step by step.

As my link explains, nominal food costs are around 1 trillion dollars a year. Now the total GDP of the US is around 10 trillion dollars, so nominal food costs represent 10% of the total economy. Now whatever additional costs are missing, they have to be represented in the GDP, because the GDP represents the total economic activity for the entire country. Social costs, medical costs, environmental costs are all in there somewhere--they have to be because GDP is by definition the sum of all economic activity in the country.

So let's assume that every single dollar of the GDP is in actuality related to food production. That's an absurd assumption of course, because there are lots of things going on in the US economy that have nothing to do with food; but let's just make that assumption to get an idea of the worst case scenario of what food really costs. So here is the kicker, and I'll put it on a separate line for emphasis:

Even if "real" food costs include 100% of the total economic activity in the country, the "real" price of food would only increase by 10 times.

Get it? Since the price we think we pay for our food (the nominal price) represents 10% of GDP, and the the most it could actually cost is 100% or GDP, the most food could actually be costing us is 10 times more. It simply can't possibly cost any more than that. It's mathematically impossible. So ask yourself this: Could Bill Gates still afford to buy food if its price increase 10 times? I think so.



QED

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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #123
124. I do get it..... you are looking at the problem linerally -- not laterally
:think:

You are thinking in terms of GDP over a period of one year and that constrains the math to money spent only during one year. That 10 trillion $ you mentioned as annual GDP for everything including food, doesn't include or account for many of the costs that the OP was referring to -- costs that we have not yet paid out.

Those costs would partly include remediation of soil, cleaning our lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, water tables --remediation of dead zones in the ocean from fertilizer / pesticide runoff, cleaning of the air from toxic pollution, loss of biological diversity, --to name just a few. There is also a huge lack of medical spending on those who suffer from a wide range of toxicant induced illnesses, many of which have reached epidemic proportions.

Those are the costs that are beyond comprehension -- and have nothing to do with money spent within a period of one year using GDP as the measuring tool.

I left out social costs because I barely know where to start -- but certainly the demise of the family farms along with their communities and the small businesses which depended on them, -- add huge costs that cannot easily be factored into a GDP constrained view.

Others may have a better handle on the social costs -- but here on my end, I see the environmental and health costs as being so huge as to blow the mind of anyone who is looking. My colleagues in this area of study are seeing devastation and breakdowns in both human health and entire eco-systems. What do you think the "real costs" would be to restore them?

The OP stated: "If you added the real cost of industrial food-its health, environmental, and social costs-to the current supermarket price, not even our wealthiest citizens could afford to buy it."

Costs of restoration ... not yet borne. :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think: :think:
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #124
126. Those costs cannot be calculated
This is one of the vulgarities of The Market. IT thinks that everything has a number value and this degrades each of us.

So what is the cost of soil degradation to the future that depends on it for it's existence. This is to be measured by some barometer of the Free Market? Who will measure it if they haven't the sustenance to stay alive? Some grand economists in the sky?
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-07 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #126
142. That conceit began with the OP
who claimed that if all the costs for food were included in the price even the wealthy could not afford to eat.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-07 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #124
141. Two questions
Edited on Wed Apr-04-07 10:36 AM by Nederland
You are thinking in terms of GDP over a period of one year and that constrains the math to money spent only during one year. That 10 trillion $ you mentioned as annual GDP for everything including food, doesn't include or account for many of the costs that the OP was referring to -- costs that we have not yet paid out.

Ok, so there will be costs to pay later on--I agree. The questions I have for you are these:

1) Will those costs help or hurt the economy?
2) Will those costs cause the price of food to increase or decrease?
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Crandor Donating Member (320 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
58. Yeah, we should all go back to pre-industrial agriculture like Cambodia did under Pol Pot.
That was sarcasm, by the way.
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #58
65. that is a specious argument n/t
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-07 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #58
138. I didn't see the "sarcasm" note. Sorry about that. n/t
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Annces Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
60. They have a great Renewable Energy Fair in Wisconsin in June
If I had a farm, I would go there.

http://www.the-mrea.org/energy_fair.php
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Faux pas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:44 PM
Response to Original message
83. K & R and should be posted every day until everyone here
and all their family and friends see it. I've copied and sent it on to all mine. Thank You!

:yourock:
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 07:59 PM
Response to Original message
85. Wheat gluten
Edited on Mon Apr-02-07 07:59 PM by lonestarnot
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #85
97. Poison on the wind
Executive Summary
This report presents the results of air monitoring in the apple-growing region of Washington State, the Yakima Valley. With training and laboratory assistance from PANNA, the Farm Worker Pesticide Project (FWPP) monitored the air for chlorpyrifos and its oxon degradation product at two homes in the Yakima Valley in April of 2006. Monitoring was conducted to coincide with the spring use of chlorpyrifos as an insecticide on apples, pears and cherries for the control of coddling moth, leafroller and other pome-fruit pests.

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphorus insecticide that is neurotoxic to both insects and mammals, inhibiting acetyl cholinesterase, an enzyme necessary for proper transmission of nerve impulses. High levels of exposure to these types of pesticides are among the leading causes of acute pesticide poisonings in the U.S. Low levels of exposure during fetal and infant development have been linked to developmental deficits of the nervous system.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently banned all residential uses of chlorpyrifos; however, agricultural use continues. Nationwide in 2001, US EPA estimated that 11-16 million pounds of chlorpyrifos were used, second only to malathion for US insecticide use.

http://www.panna.org/campaigns/DCYakima06-CP.dv.html
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #97
102. eeeeeeeeee gads!
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-07 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #97
139. Actually, low level chronic exposures are much more insidious and dangerous than acute exposures
Edited on Wed Apr-04-07 10:26 AM by AikidoSoul
To be clear: if you don't die from an acute, one-time exposure --you have a much better chance of recovering completely. The most dangerous damage most often is done via low levels over time -- sub-clinically. Most folks chronically exposed to organophosphate pesticides have a range of symptoms that they don't readily connect to the pesticides. Organophosphates are have not only immediate symptoms for many, but most strangely, have what is known as "delayed neurotoxic effect" which can take from one to two weeks before neurological symptoms appear.

More immediate and chronic symptoms could include one, several or all of the following: flu-like symptoms with nausea, headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue. Brain-fog, heart arrhythmias, urgency to urinate or defecate, muscle weakness, joint pain, muscle cramping, moodiness, hyperagitation, respiratory depression (can produce APNEA symptoms), difficulty concentrating, etc.) Delayed effects are usually in the lower legs. There are more symptoms but you get the drift -- as the brain controls every function in the body. Symptoms are typically intermittent and with continued exposure can result in is organ and brain damage that the body is no longer competent to repair.

I suspect that's why the chemical / pharmaceutical companies are so incredibly profitable. It profits on all sides of the poison picture-- first when it sells its poisons, and then later when you get symptoms and chronic illnesses. Then it sells you its drugs, medical imaging technologies, and all the other patented drugs, medical products and services it owns.

For several decades now the chem/pharm industry and EPA promote the concept of acute exposure as the topic of concern -- completely ignoring the insidious, devastating effects of chronic, low level exposures.

EPA's communication is beginning to change slightly regarding chronic, low level exposures --but from my perspective, they are talking the talk, but not really doing anything real to prevent damage.
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NotGivingUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
92. k & r !!!
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 10:32 PM
Response to Original message
98. Seeds of Deception
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riverdeep Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-02-07 10:39 PM
Response to Original message
100. Interesting thread
To those positing the idea the GM itself isn't bad, but used properly and with proper regulation it's fine, let me relate the following. On Sunday's 60 minutes, I watched a Republican who passed the Medicaire bill, go to work for 2 million a year as a lobbyist for pharma. He had a lot of company-most of those involved in pushing that legislation wound up working for pharma, in some cases in as little as two weeks after the bill was passed.

What does this have to do with the regulation of GM? How many honestly believe that with the amounts of money involved here regulation is going to be enforced properly, if you can even get it passed because biotech has deep pockets. Genetic pollution isn't like cleaning a river. It's unpredictable in it's effects. It could stay localized, or it could spread through an ecosystem actually gaining momentum like an avalanche.

The ecosystem is what keeps us alive and stuff.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #100
108. Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability
Chemical Trespass
Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability


Many U.S. residents carry toxic pesticides in their bodies above government assessed acceptable levels. Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability, makes public for the first time an analysis of pesticide-related data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a study of levels of chemicals in 9,282 people nationwide (2,644 of whom were tested for pesticides).

Many of the pesticides found in the test subjects have been linked to serious short- and long-term health effects including infertility, birth defects and childhood and adult cancers. Chemical Trespass finds that children, women and Mexican Americans shoulder the heaviest pesticide body burden. For example, childrenthe population most vulnerable to pesticidesare exposed to the highest levels of nerve-damaging organophosphorous (OP) pesticides. The CDC data show that the average 6 to11 year-old sampled is exposed to the OP pesticide chlorpyrifos (commonly known by the product name Dursban) at four times the level U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers acceptable for a long-term exposure. The report introduces the Pesticide Trespass Index (PTI), a new tool for quantifying responsibility of individual pesticide manufacturers for their pesticide trespass. Using the PTI, the report estimates that Dow Chemical is responsible for at least 80% of the chlorpyrifos breakdown products found in the bodies of those in the U.S. Chemical Trespass calls for immediate action by government officials and the pesticide industry to reduce reliance on toxic pesticide and better protect the public from pesticide exposures

Download PDF documents:.

Executive Summary--English (screen resolution) (0.5 MB)
Executive Summary--English (print resolution) (3.0 MB)
Executive Summary--Spanish (screen resolution) (1.2 MB)
Executive Summary--Spanish (print resolution) (2.7 MB)
Executive Summary--French (screen resolution) (0.5 MB)
Executive Summary--French (print resolution) (3.1 MB)

Full Report -- English (screen resolution) (1.8 MB)
Full Report -- English (print resolution) (9.8 MB)
Full Report -- Spanish (screen resolution) (1.1 MB)
Full Report -- Spanish (print resolution) (9.2 MB)

See Site help and information for information about and help with PDF files
http://panna.org/campaigns/docsTrespass/chemicalTrespas...
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AikidoSoul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #108
120. Read "Chemicals and the Developing Brain" to understand
how pesticides are allowed to remain in the marketplace despite evidence of devastating effects on the brain. This class of pesticides has been implicated in tens of thousands of chemical injury cases -- and yet it was allowed to remain on the market for home and garden use for more than four decades.
*************************


http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=artic...


Chemicals and the Developing Brain

By Judy Mann
Wednesday, June 14, 2000; Page C17


If yours is a typical household, you've probably got several pesticides, and chances are at least one of them contains chlorpyrifos. The compound, known generically as an organophosphate, has been linked to damage in the developing brain and was restricted by the Environmental Protection Agency last week.

Chlorpyrifos, commonly marketed under the trade names Dursban and Lorsban, is found in more than 800 products ranging from flea collars to lawn care products and in bug sprays used everywhere. More than 20 million pounds of the pesticide is sold annually, making it one of the most widely used in existence. Under an agreement between the EPA and the manufacturers, products containing chlorpyrifos can remain on store shelves until the end of next year. New production for nonagricultural uses is to stop by the end of this year. The EPA is imposing tighter restrictions on its use in some agricultural products but is still allowing it on many crops.

"We've got actual studies that show it injures the developing brain, even at low-dose exposure in gestation or early life," says David Wallinga, a physician and senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based environmental group. "You see lasting changes in brain chemistry in animal studies. Drops in the cells in the brain, drops in the synthesis of DNA in the brain. . . .

"It is one of 35 organophosphates which act in the same ways. We simply haven't tested the others. We are often quite ignorant when we put things on the market. To really make sure kids are protected, the chemical should have been banned," he says, adding that continued use of the chemical will expose many pregnant women and children.

"There are plenty of alternatives for just about all these uses, both in agriculture and in the home."

Wallinga and other public health advocates such as the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility make the point that it has taken thousands of studies and 30 years to get this one pesticide restricted. It's like having one brand of cigarettes removed from the market every 30 years.

"You've got a huge pesticide industry that's been having closed-door meetings with EPA staff for years and plows millions into lobbying and in turn generates enormous profits," Wallinga says. "You can't turn that around overnight."

The Boston physicians' group issued a report in May warning that developmental, learning and behavioral disabilities have reached epidemic proportions among American children. Nearly 12 million youngsters under the age of 18 suffer from one of more of these problems. The number of children on California's autism registry increased by 210 percent between 1987 and 1998.

The report, "In Harm's Way," cited numerous peer-reviewed studies of animals and humans that demonstrate that many neurotoxins commonly found in the environment can contribute to these problems. They include lead, mercury, cadmium, manganese, nicotine, pesticides, dioxin and other chemicals that accumulate in the food chain, and solvents. They operate by being directly toxic to cells or interfering with hormones, neurotransmitters and other systems involved with growth. Small exposure to mercury, such as frequent maternal consumption of fish, has been implicated in language, attention and memory impairment that appears to be permanent. The EPA has estimated that 1.16 million pregnant women eat enough mercury-contaminated fish to risk developmental brain damage in their children.

Most chemicals that go into consumer products are not tested for their toxicity on humans. Moreover, the report points out, even when regulated, the risks of chemical exposure are often estimated for one chemical at a time. In reality, children are exposed to a varied combination of chemicals, ranging from lead and mercury to pesticides--chemicals that can interact to magnify damage. Wallinga says the regulatory system should be looking at the developing child and all the things that can affect behavior.

"Children shouldn't be the guinea pigs for these chemicals," says Wallinga, who worked on the report. "But unfortunately we have a deeply flawed regulatory system that seems to put them in that role." A child's developing organs are extremely vulnerable to chemical exposure, he says. "At the right time, it can throw development completely off course. The brain and nervous system are especially susceptible to that kind of injury."



<<<<<<<<<<SNIP>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


FAIR USE NOTICE: This may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, political, human rights, economic democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior general interest in receiving similar information for research and educational purposes. For more information on this topic go to: http://www.law.Cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html

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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #120
127. Death of the Central Dogma
Death of the Central Dogma

It is amazing how much scientific and religious fundamentalism have in common. The late Francis Crick won the Nobel Prize jointly with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins for working out the structure of DNA; and rather like the new Potentate of biology, issued the "Central Dogma" to the faithful, which decreed that genetic information flows linearly from DNA to RNA to protein, and never in reverse. That was just another way of saying that organisms are hardwired in their genetic makeup, and that the environment has little if any influence on the structure and function of the genes.

The Central Dogma goes hand in glove with the other dogma of biology, the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection, which says that the genetic material mutate at random, and individuals which happen to have good genes leave more offspring, just as individuals with bad genes are weeded out. The neo-Darwinian theory is beloved of the status quo, because it endows the rich and powerful with a certain mystique, as those who have won the race in the struggle for survival of the fittest, of being in possession of good genes (= good breeding); while the poor and dispossessed have only their bad genes to blame.

Since the mid-1970s, if not before, molecular geneticists studying the genetic material have been turning up evidence that increasingly contradicts the Central Dogma. There is an immense amount of necessary cross talk between genes and the environment in the life of the organism, which not only changes the function of the genes but also the structure of the genes and genomes. By the early 1980s, the new genetics of the "fluid genome" has emerged.

But apart from a few heretics like Barry Commoner and myself, no one dared to say a word against the Central Dogma or the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution.

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/DCD.php
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
129. 7 Falsehoods in the 7 Truths
Falsehood 1. The common theme in the opening post was "industrial agriculture". This is not exactly a common term, and it gives the impression that the poster is talking about massive, corporate farms. That's the first falsehood; most of the offending practices covered in the opening post are standard techniques used by even the smallest of family farms.

Falsehood 2. In "Truth" 1. Industrial agriculture actually increases hunger by raising the cost of farming, by forcing tens of millions of farmers off the land, and by growing primarily high-profit export and luxury crops. Large farms are far less expensive, and the largest farms in the US grow non-luxury crops, such as corn, wheat, and soybeans.

Falsehood 3. In "Truth" 2: Industrial agriculture contaminates our vegetables and fruits with pesticides, slips dangerous bacteria into our lettuce, and puts genetically engineered growth hormones into our milk. News flash: pesticides are used by home gardners and farmers of every scale. Ditto growth hormones.

Falsehood 4. In "Truth" 3: If you added the real cost of industrial food-its health, environmental, and social costs-to the current supermarket price, not even our wealthiest citizens could afford to buy it. Seeing how we've already demonstrated that "industrial" farming in the context of the OP includes all levels of farming, this makes no sense. Unless, of course, our society, health, and environment degraded beyond affordability a hundred years ago.

Falsehood 5. In "Truth" 5: Most importantly, the myth of choice masks the tragic loss of tens of thousands of crop varieties caused by industrial agriculture. Nearly all varieties that have been grown in this country in the past 50 years are still available. They are no longer grown because they are low yielding, unresistant to disease, susceptible to insects, etc.

Falsehood 6. In "Truth" 6: Industrial agriculture is the largest single threat to the earths biodiversity. Again, we're talking about every form of agriculture currently in use with the exception of agriculture that does not use power equipment.

Falsehood 7. In "Truth" 7: New biotech crops will not solve industrial agricultures problems, but will compound them and consolidate control of the worlds food supply in the hands of a few large corporations. Biotechnology will destroy biodiversity and food security, and drive self-sufficient farmers off their land. Actually, there are multiple falsehoods in this "truth". The vast majority of crop seed production has been in the hands of a few corporations for decades, well prior to the advent biotech. Biotech, by itself, cannot "destroy biodiversity". And, finally, how is it possible for self sufficient farmers to be driven from their land? If they are self-sufficient, then they have no debts and cannot be removed unless voluntarily.



The lone Truth in "Truth" 4: Small farms produce more agricultural output per unit area than large farms. Nicely done!

============================

Keep in mind that the hero of the author of the OP is Wes Jackson. Jackson professes using native seeds only, which automatically precludes several of the major crops on this continent. He also advocates the abandonment of all petroleum-driven equipment -- back to horse drawn plows. It's a romantic notion but not one that will allow feeding the billions of people inhabiting this planet.



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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #129
133. We need a new myth
I'll address your poorly stated analysis tomorrow.

Comical. Hopefully you're not actually believing what you just typed.

Please start that post in defense of Biotech and/or industrial agriculture. Waiting.

As for myself I have no heroes.

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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #133
134. Don't bother responding.
I'm not interested in more massive cut-and-paste, selective use of information, and childish insults. I'm hiding this thread.

But I'll be back for your next charade.
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stuntcat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 10:45 PM
Response to Original message
131. bump from someone who's seen firsthand a factory chicken farm
It's something I can never forget.

And we shouldn't open cans of food anymore without thinking a minute of what it took to make it, transport it, then handle the trash it leaves.
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Dakini23 Donating Member (59 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-03-07 11:23 PM
Response to Original message
136. thought I'd share this...found this years ago....
and I liked what it said...


"The Manna-pesto of the Revolutionary Garden Party"

Berkley, California


1. Squash the state.
2. Raise vegetables, not taxes and rent.
3. Weed out the pesticide pushers.
4. Agribusiness = farmageddon.
5. Overturn the compost.
6. Give peas a chance.
7. Farm ecololgy, not pharamacology.
8. Cultivate a sense of humor, hoe, hoe, hoe!
9. Solidarity Forever!

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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-05-07 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
149. For some reason, the photo for No. 2 embarrasses me...
To think that some corporation puts that out for me to buy for my kids to eat just downright embarrasses me! "Kid Cuisine?" That looks like a smattering of crap!

US corporations must have very little respect for me and my kids!

I'm not so much angry that they think I would go for this as I am embarrassed...
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InvisibleTouch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-06-07 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
157. Yes indeed. K & R n/t
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InvisibleTouch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-06-07 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #157
158. Well, I couldn't "R" anymore, so...
...I'll just give it another nudge. The pic of that poor frog bothers me especially. Not that the info is new to me, but it's good to let it be seen again. And there are those who will say the megacorps have our best interests at heart.... :eyes:
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